Misleading Claims about Prabowo’s Eligibility for Presidential Candidacy

As Indonesia gears up for the upcoming 2024 General Election (Pemilu), discussions and debates surrounding potential presidential candidates (capres) are intensifying. Figures like former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto have remained in the spotlight, facing a barrage of media coverage and various controversies circulating on social media platforms. Alongside the broader discussions about the elections, a recent topic of debate has emerged regarding a challenge to the Election Law presented to the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi, or MK).

Approximately nine months before the election, certain legal experts initiated a lawsuit against specific provisions of the Election Law, including one provision that mandates a maximum age of 70 for presidential and vice presidential candidates. The lawsuit, spearheaded by a group of lawyers known as the “Aliansi ‘98 Pengacara Pengawal Demokrasi dan HAM,” seeks to question the constitutionality of this age limitation. The lawsuit was registered with the Constitutional Court on August 18, 2023, prompting discussions and speculation among the public and on social media platforms.

Rumors and unverified claims began circulating on social media platforms, alleging that the Constitutional Court had already made a ruling regarding the age limitation and that Prabowo Subianto, who is 71 years old, would be ineligible to run for president due to this ruling. One Facebook post by an account named “Ailyn Zoila” claimed that the court’s decision was final and that Prabowo would face further legal proceedings. This post gained significant attention, garnering over 134,000 views, 2,100 likes, and 1,200 comments. Additionally, a 12-minute video accompanied this claim, which was shared on both Facebook and YouTube channels, such as “Politik Nusantara.”

In response to these claims, the investigative team at Tirto undertook a thorough analysis of the video’s content. The majority of the video featured a narrator relaying information. After transcribing the relevant parts of the video, Tirto conducted a Google search to trace the origins of the information. It was revealed that the source of the information could be traced back to three articles published on the platform “Seword.” The first article, titled “Kena Bumerang, Giliran Ada Yang Gugat Usia Maksimal Capres 70 Tahun” (Backfire, Now Someone Challenges the Maximum Age of Presidential Candidates of 70 Years), was published on August 19, 2023. This article expressed the author’s opinion on the lawsuit filed by 98 lawyers against the maximum age requirement for presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The second article, titled “Yang Gugat Syarat Usia Capres Banyak, Denny Indrayana Cuma Fokus PSI dan Gibran” (Those Who Challenge the Age Requirement for Presidential Candidates are Many, Denny Indrayana Focuses Only on PSI and Gibran), published in July 2023, focused on the previous legal challenge against the minimum age requirement for presidential candidates. It also included the perspective of constitutional law expert Denny Indrayana. Lastly, the third article, “Prabowo Tak Tahan Berbulu Domba, Dilepas, and Beringas Ingin Berkuasa” (Prabowo Can’t Stand Being Tricked, Released, and Fiercely Aiming for Power), published on August 13, 2023, offered opinions and responses to a recent speech by Prabowo during his declaration from the Golkar and PAN parties.

It is important to note that none of these articles provided any information regarding a Constitutional Court ruling related to the Election Law, particularly the maximum age limitation that could potentially disqualify Prabowo from running for president. A search for information regarding the lawsuit challenging the maximum age requirement on Google did not yield any indications of an official court decision. According to reports from detik.com, the lawsuit was only filed on August 18, 2023, and as of August 21, 2023, there was no information available about the court’s ruling on this matter.

Furthermore, the video shared on social media platforms did not contain any verified information about a Constitutional Court ruling on the matter. Portions of the video related to the lawyers’ lawsuit were similar to a report from JPNN.com. The thumbnail used in the video was traced back to a photograph from the Antara news agency. This image was taken in 2019 and showed Constitutional Court justices presenting evidence during a hearing related to a dispute over the results of the presidential and vice presidential elections.

In conclusion, the claim that there is a Constitutional Court ruling that renders Prabowo ineligible to run for president due to his age is incorrect and misleading. The sources cited in support of this claim were primarily opinion pieces and did not present any official court decisions. As of the provided date, there is no information confirming the existence of a Constitutional Court ruling on the lawsuit challenging the maximum age requirement for presidential candidates. It is crucial for the public to rely on verified and accurate information, especially during periods of heightened political discussions and election preparations.