05/04/2024 06:48 PM

JAKARTA, April 5 (Bernama) -- Four Indonesian Cabinet ministers appeared in the Constitutional Court on Friday to provide testimony in the trial of the Dispute over the Results of the 2024 Presidential and Vice Presidential Election (PHPU).

The four ministers involved were Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, and Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini.

"The agenda of the court session this morning is to hear testimony from the four ministries. Each is invited to provide testimony for about 20-25 minutes before the judges ask questions," said the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Judge Suhartoyo.

Muhadjir, who was the first to be called to testify, explained that the government's social assistance distribution had nothing to do with the election but was part of the poverty alleviation plan.

Allocations approved by the House of Representatives for social protection programmes and food aid are managed by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), he said.

Airlangga attributed the distribution of social assistance following El Niño's impact on food production and price increases, prompting government intervention to increase consumer purchasing power.

Sri Mulyani said part of the January-February budget for social assistance to millions of families and food subsidies, as well as the 2024 budget, were drafted before the nomination of presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The budget approach is also consistent for social protection from 2019 to 2024, except in 2023 due to the restructuring of cooperation between the Ministry of Social Affairs and the bank.

Tri Rismaharini revealed that in fiscal year 2023, 98.65 per cent of the ministry's allocation is for social protection, while 95.46 per cent is allocated for social assistance in 2024.

The allocation to the ministry also decreased this year from 2023, he added.

The PHPU trial began on March 27, and the court is expected to deliver its verdict on April 22.

At the beginning of the trial, the two losing candidate pairs and their legal teams before the judge's panel alleged that the election process, won by Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, was tainted by violations and fraud.

The court was asked to annul the decision, order a re-vote, and take steps to prevent the misuse of state resources and social assistance in favour of any candidate.

The legal team of Prabowo-Gibran rejected all claims considered unfounded because they were based on assumptions and lacked evidence.

Prabowo-Gibran obtained 58.6 per cent or 96,214,691 votes out of 164,227,475 votes in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections.

On March 28, the losing presidential and vice-presidential candidate pair, Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD requested the court to summon several ministers.

Judge Suhartoyo and seven other judges who heard the trial rejected the application on Monday, but the panel of judges decided on Tuesday that the ministers needed to appear to provide testimony.


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