Indonesia’s Constitutional Court annuls NTT regency election won by American

Left, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta. Right, Orient Patriot Riwu Kore. Photos: azmi_dude/Flickr and Facebook
Left, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta. Right, Orient Patriot Riwu Kore. Photos: azmi_dude/Flickr and Facebook

The Constitutional Court has annulled last year’s election result from a regency in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) after it was confirmed that the winner held American citizenship. 

A little refresher on the case: Orient Patriot Riwu Kore was declared the winner of the Dec. 9, 2020 election in Sabu Raijua regency by the General Election Commission (KPU) in January 2021. About a week after that, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) said it found evidence that Orient was an American citizen. 

Fast-forward to this week, when the Constitutional Court said Orient and his running mate, Thobias Uly, are officially disqualified from the election. 

“[We] declare the disqualification of candidate pair no. 2 Orient Patriot Riwu Kore and Thobias Uly from participating in the election of regent and deputy regent in Sabu Raijua regency in 2020,” Chief Justice Anwar Usman said yesterday, as seen in a live broadcast. 

MK has instructed officials in Sabu Raijua to organize another election that must be held within 60 days of the court’s decision. 

Orient provided his KTP (ID card) when registering as a candidate for the regency seat, which was legitimate according to the local Citizenship and Civil Records Agency (Dukcapil). However, as Indonesia does not allow for dual citizenship, the court’s decision was also based on Orient’s omission of his status as the citizen of another country during the election process. 

Orient previously defended himself in this regard and said that neither KPU nor Bawaslu have ever asked him directly about his citizenship. 

“Neither Bawaslu nor KPU have ever asked me and I think I am truly an Indonesian citizen,” Orient said. 

His legal representative, Paskaria Tombi, also said that Orient had filed a request to revoke his American citizenship adding that the request was not processed by the US embassy in Jakarta due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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