The Political Context of Judicial Review in Indonesia

Fritz Edward Siregar

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Indonesia Constitutional Court will celebrate 12th birthday this August 2015, and it cannot be denied that the Court play significant role in securing democracy in Indonesia. In exercising their authorities, including the election result dispute and judicial review, the Court continue to affirm institutional judicial legitimacy and pursue their role to guard 1945 Constitution and continue to do so. The first Chief Justice Jimly showed how within five years of the Court’s creation, he could strategically maximise its momentum and build up the Court as a respectful institution. The Chief Justice Mahfud MD was then elected to reduce the judicial activism started by Jimly’s bench. However, against promises and expectations, Mahfud MD brought the Court to a level far beyond the imagination of the Constitution drafters. Parliament and President tried to limit Court’s authority, not ones, and the Court able to overcome those constrain. Current various available studies observed only how the Court issued their decision and solely focus to the impact of the decision. Scholars slightly ignore that study about the Court, by reducing other constitutional actor in Indonesia, produce study about the Court itself isn’t complete. In fact, political environment in which the Court operated at that time is one of utmost importance the strengthen of the Court institutional legitimacy. This paper is trying to discover the rise of the Indonesia Constitutional Court, not from what the Court did, but from political environment outside the court. Political parties realize that the Court is the only institution that act as political dispute resolution among them. Political parties maturity and political constraint are the key factor that support the development of the Court’s institutional power.

ISSN: 2356-2129