New Faces, Old Faces

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled against a petition that sought to impose restrictions on individuals over the age of 70 or those linked to human rights abuses from running for president, a verdict that clears the path for a controversial 72-year-old former general to run in next year’s presidential elections, the Associated Press reported.

The case centers on a petition by human rights groups asking the top court whether the existing 2017 General Election Law complied with the constitution.

Petitioners said the election legislation does not set a maximum age for presidential candidates, while noting that the constitution requires candidates to be “mentally and physically capable” for the office.

But the court rejected the arguments, saying that it was up to parliament to set limits on the presidency.

The ruling is a blow for human rights groups, who were hoping to prevent Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto from running in the 2024 elections.

Subianto, a former special forces general, has been a controversial figure in Indonesian politics, and has been accused of human rights abuses committed during the dictatorship of Gen. Suharto – who ruled the country from 1968 to 1998.

While the petitioners explained that they were not targeting a specific candidate, Subianto’s candidacy has been a source of concern for human rights activists.

The Constitutional Court’s decision is final. It comes just a week after the same court ruled that current and former regional governors below the age of 40 can run as presidential or vice-presidential candidates.

Subianto selected Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the 36-year-old mayor of the city of Surakarta and son of current President Joko Widodo as his running mate.

Recent opinion polls suggested that Subianto has a significant lead over his rivals in the upcoming election, although a considerable portion of voters remain undecided.

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