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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Constitutional Court (MK) has ruled that mentally-impaired persons should be allowed to vote. In a hearing held at MK Building, Jakarta, the presiding judge, Arief Hidayat, granted part of the request for judicial review of article 57 (3) (a) of Law on Regional Election.

“The whole phrase ‘mental/cognitive impairment’ shall not be construed as having permanent mental impairment and/or cognitive impairment which according to mental health professionals may diminish one’s [mental] capacity to vote,” judge Arief said on Thursday. The applicants applying for judicial review are the Association for Good Mental Health (Perhimpunan Jiwa Sehat), the Center for Election Access of Citizens with Disabilities (PPUA Penca), the Association for Election and Democracy (Perludem) dan Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati.

Judge Wahiduddin Adams stated that mental and cognitive impairment have different characterestics and various consequences. According to him, the two of them are related but not similar. Therefore, the slash punctuation is an imperative.

In medical terms, disability is separated into two different types: permanent and temporary. Some who have had mental or cognitive impairment have even recovered almost 100 percent and returned to their normal lives. The MK sees that there is some ambiguity about the types of mental or cognitive impairment.

Judge Wahiduddin added that the formulation of article 57 (3) is deemed to have put the consequences of all types of mental or cognitive impairment into one bracket, adding that it could lead to violation of constitutional rights of the applicants. Whereas there is a substantial period of time between having the impairment and the period for registration period and voting period.

Perludem researcher Fadli Ramadhanil has welcomed the MK ruling. He concurred with the judges’ statement that mentally-impaired persons could recover from their condition. Therefore, he has urged the General Election Commission (KPU) to formulate a regulation in wake of the MK ruling. “It means that all citizens who are eligible [age 17 and above or have married] must be registered [to vote],” he said.