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Indonesian court upholds minimum age for presidential candidates

JAKARTA – Indonesia's Constitutional Court on Monday rejected a lawsuit calling for the minimum age of presidential and vice presidential candidates to be lowered to 35, shutting down one avenue for President Joko Widodo's son to run on an election ticket next year.

The court was on Monday also reading rulings on six other cases that could clear the way for the president’s 36-year-old son to run for vice president. The first ruling comes amid growing criticism of what sources say are the outgoing president’s efforts to build a political dynasty and retain influence after leaving office.

The world’s third-biggest democracy is set to vote in simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Feb 14 next year. Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is neck-and-neck in opinion polls with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, while ex-Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan is a distant third.

Chief Justice Anwar Usman, who is President Jokowi’s brother-in-law and leads a panel of nine judges, rejected the first petition to lower the minimum age to 35 from 40.

The judges said determining the age limit was up to lawmakers and that the petition had no “reasoning according to law”. If granted, the petition would have allowed President Jokowi’s son and mayor of Surakarta city, Gibran Rakabuming Raka to contest the February election, most likely as Prabowo’s running mate.

Gibran did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last week, Jokowi brushed off a question about growing criticism that he is building a political dynasty, saying the choice of leader should be left to the people.

Presidential candidates and their running mates are expected to formally register with the elections commission between Oct. 19-25.

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