Indonesia court rules women can become Yogyakarta ruler

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of a judicial review petition challenging the 2012 law on Yogyakarta's special status, paving way for Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of the Yogyakarta customary sultanate to make his daughter a successor.

Chief justice Arief Hidayat told the hearing on Thursday the court had scrapped a "discriminative" provision in Article 18 (1), Point M of the law, as requested by the plaintiffs, the royal servants of the Yogyakarta Palace.

The plaintiffs disputed the term "wife" in the provision, as it implied that only men could take the governor seat, hence also meaning only the male lineage of the royal family can take the reign of the sultan.

Hamengkubuwono, who became the sultan in March 1989, has five daughters and no sons. In 2015 he issued a sabdaraja (king's proclamation), naming his eldest daughter, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Mangkubumi, as the crown princess.

Yogyakartans criticised the move, saying the position of sultan was only for men, as it was part of the tradition of the Javanese Palace, hence Hamengkubuwono's younger brother should be his successor.