Sat, 15 May 2004

Court rules in favor of Alzier

Oyos Saroso H.N., Bandarlampung

The Jakarta Administrative Court has ruled in favor of Lampung governor-elect Alzier Dianis Thabranie against the annulment of his 2002 electoral victory by Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno.

The court said Hari's decree canceling the provincial legislative council's decision to elect Alzier was invalid because the minister had no authority to do so.

"The legal reasoning of the judges is well-founded because Hari Sabarno issued the decision not in the name of the President but as the home minister," Alzier said on Friday, quoting his lawyer Leopold P. Simorangkir.

Alzier said the court also ordered the minister as the respondent to revoke Decree No. 161.27-598/2003 that annulled the results of the gubernatorial election for the 2003-2008 period.

The verdict was handed down on Thursday in a trial presided over by Judge Is Sudaryo and judges Yodi Martono and Bambang Hariyanto.

The judges turned down all defense pleas presented by Hari's lawyers -- S. Manuwarang, Siti Nurlifa Alfianti and Romano Manurung, and instead ordered the central government to issue a new decision to endorse Alzier's election.

The court also recommended that the verdict be maintained until after a permanent legal verdict was issued, as the minister's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

Alzier and his elected deputy governor Ansory Yunus filed a lawsuit with the Jakarta Administrative Court to challenge the annulment.

The elected pair then appointed Leonard, Luhut Pangaribuan and Yuana Berliyanti as their lawyers to represent them in the civil case.

The council voted for Alzier in the gubernatorial election on Dec. 30, 2002, defeating then incumbent governor Oemarsono who was backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI- P) leader President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

But the home minister refused to approve Alzier's victory in February due to what he claimed were procedural violations, after police brought graft charges against the governor-elect.

On Feb. 12, 2003, Lampung's Tanjungkarang District Court sentenced Alzier to nine months in prison suspended for 12 months in cases of corruption and using a fake diploma.

He was also ordered to pay Rp 5 million (US$561) or serve a two-month prison term should he not be able to afford the fine.

Alzier was found guilty of embezzling 500 tons of fertilizer and using a fake diploma.

Responding to the court verdict against the home minister's annulment decree, Lampung Legislative Council speaker Nurhasanah said on Friday it would not stop the council leaders' plan to hold a revote to elect a new governor on May 26.

The repeat election was scheduled for May 15 but was postponed for 11 days as there was only one pairing of candidates eligible for the revote.

Apart from that, some factions in the PDI-P dominated council and new political parties opposed the plan, arguing that the revote should be held after the new legislature is formed after the April 5 legislative election.

Critics accused the PDI-P of attempting to ensure its pair of gubernatorial hopefuls win the planned revote by speeding up its process, so the would-elected candidates could help Megawati grab more votes in the July 5 presidential election.

Megawati's PDI-P garnered fewer votes in the April legislative election than the Golkar Party.

However, Nurhasanah of PDI-P insisted that the revote should go ahead, saying the administrative court's verdict had nothing to do with the plans for a repeat election.