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Indonesia: Court Upholds Vote Count

(Aug. 14, 2009) On August 7, 2009, the Indonesian Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi, or MK) overturned an earlier decision to affirm the second phase of vote counting in the recent legislative election. The Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung, MA) had ruled on June 18, 2009, that the second phase of vote counting by the General Election Commission (Komisi Permilihan Umum, KPU) was invalid. Had the MA decision remained in effect, 66 parliamentary seats would have changed hands from small political parties to larger ones, and 1,300 regional council seats would also have been affected. The MK decision must, that Court stated, be applied to the method used by the KPU to count the votes in the 2009 legislative election. Speaking for the MK, its chairman said that while as a rule law decisions do not have force retroactively, in this case the MK decision does apply because the election would affect the distribution of legislative seats in the future. (Constitutional Court Decision Supports KPU, JAKARTA POST, Aug. 7, 2009, available at

Indonesia's Constitutional Court was created by constitutional amendment in 2001. Its jurisdiction includes cases on the constitutionality of particular legislation, election results, and attempts to dismiss a President from office. (Benny S. Tabalujan, The Indonesian Legal System: An Overview, LLRX.COM, Dec. 2, 2002, available at