KPU hints at siding with Constitutional Court

The General Elections Commission (KPU) hinted Tuesday it would abide by the ruling from the Constitutional Court over the Supreme Court on legislative seat distribution, breaking weeks of deadlock over the announcement of who won legislative seats.

“It seems we all agree the only phase that needs revising is the third phase,” said KPU chairman Abdul Hafiz Anshary.

“We consider the first and second phases fully resolved. We’ll hold a two-day meeting to discuss the matter before we meet with the experts, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court on Friday. I hope the issue can be resolved by Aug. 21.”

The Supreme Court ruled on June 18 that the second phase of vote counting by the KPU was

The KPU’s earlier interpretation was that the second phase of legislative seat distribution included only the remaining eligible votes from the first phase of calculations.

But the Supreme Court ruled the votes used by the winning parties in the first phase were to be used again in the second phase, costing smaller parties with less votes their legislative seats.

The ruling would have given at least 66 seats to major parties at the expense of minor parties at the House of Representatives, according to a calculation by the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro).

However, the Constitutional Court decided on Aug. 7 that the second phase of vote counting by the KPU was valid.

The Constitutional Court stressed its ruling must be applied to the KPU vote counting method used in the 2009 legislative elections, with court chief Mahfud M.D. saying that although legal decisions were in general not retroactive, but since the legislative election vote counting would affect the future distribution of seats in the House, this particular decision would have to be applied.

KPU member Syamsulbahri said one of the experts to be invited was Cetro legal analyst Refly Harun.
“We want to implement both of the courts’ rulings without having to violate either of them,” Syamsulbahri said.

Refly told The Jakarta Post the KPU had to obey the ruling issued by the Constitutional Court.

“The Supreme Court issued four rulings on the seat distribution, only one of which is retroactive,” he said.

“However, that ruling, which could potentially revise the KPU’s seat distribution, has been annulled by the Constitutional Court ruling.

“The other rulings are not retroactive. They will only serve as guidelines for the future. Therefore if the KPU decides to obey the Constitutional Court ruling, they need not to worry about violating the law by disobeying the Supreme Court.”

Refly added the Constitutional Court had greater legitimacy in terms of election disputes than the Supreme Court.

“The law clearly stipulates that election disputes fall within the domain of the Constitutional Court,” he said.

“I hope that through this debacle, we will have far clearer laws in the future and that all election disputes will be solved through the Constitutional Court only.” (hdt)

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