Saturday, 2nd August 2014

Indonesia Gears Up for 2014 General Elections

Selasa, 16 April 2013 20:36 WIB | 5.761 Views
 Jakarta (Antara News) - The year 2014 will be a "party time for democracy" in Indonesia as the nation will hold direct legislative and presidential elections, which will be the third democratic elections since the political reform that started in 1998.

The legislative elections will take place on April 9, 2014, after campaign period from January 11 to April 5, 2014, while the presidential election is expected to be organized on July 9, 2014.

The general elections will be organized by Indonesia`s General Elections Commission (KPU) with the cooperation of concerned institutions such as the General Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu), the National Police, and the Government Goods and Service Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP).

Based on KPU Regulation Number 15 of 2012 on the stages, programs and schedule of the 2014 general elections, Political parties are not allowed to stage outdoor rallies and put up banners 21 days ahead of the cooling down period.

Limited meetings however could be carried out during the period involving maximally 1,000 attendees at central levels and 250 at district/city levels.

The meetings could be held only with prior written notifications to the KPU, the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) or the Elections Monitoring Committee (Panwaslu) and local police stations.

Outdoor rallies and campaign advertisements in the mass media are allowed only from March 16 to April 5, 2014 for the legislative elections.

Of the 34 political parties verified by the KPU, 15 parties have been declared eligible to participate in the general elections. The parties are National Democratic Party (Nasdem), National Awakening Party (PKB), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Golkar Party, Gerindra, Democratic Party (PD), National Mandate Party (PAN), United

Development Party (PPP), Hanura, Aceh`s Peace Party (PDA), Aceh`s National Party (PNA), Aceh Party (PA), Crescent and Star Party (PBB), and Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI).

The number of political parties to participate in the 2014 general elections is much less than those in 2004 which was 24, and in 2009 which was 34 political parties.

For the first time, the Commission will use the data of potential voters from the electronic identity cards (e-ID or e-KTP) which is believed to be more accurate than the manual data in the past.

"I am sure the e-KTP data is more accurate because it has gone through a long and careful process including by recording irises and fingerprints," KPU Commissioner Hadar Navis Gumay said in March 2014.

The e-KPT data could not be manipulated, he stated, adding that, however, there is a possibility that the e-KTP data has not yet covered all potential voters. Therefore, KPU will make comprehensive data of potential voters, he said.

The commission has received the data recorded in the e-KTP from the home affairs ministry and the foreign affairs ministry on February 6, 2013.

Based on the data, there are 190,463,184 potential voters consisting of Indonesian people living inside and outside the country.

The Commission will cross-check the data, Gumay said. Indonesia`s population is estimated at over 245 million people now and only those above 17 years old can vote in the elections.

The government has allocated about Rp16 trillion in budget funds for the 2014 general elections, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said recently.

According to him, the special budget which will be contained in the 2014 state budget will be used as operational funds to ensure sound, well-planned and democratic elections.

In the 2013 state budget, the government had set aside Rp8.1 trillion in funds to finance preparations for the 2014 elections.

The government hoped the funds would help increase the public`s participation to at least 75 percent in the 2014 elections.

In 2008, the government allocated Rp6.67 trillion in funds as preparations for the 2009 elections. However, only Rp1.9 trillion of the funds was used.

Around 71 percent of the eligible voters turned out in the 2009 general elections, according to KPU General Chairman Husni Kamil Manik.

On April 15, 2013, the KPU and the Government Goods and Service Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Procurement of the Government`s Goods and Services for the Implementation of the 2014 General Elections .

"In principle, we need facilitation for procurement of goods and services for the 2014 general elections in line with the regulations," Husni Kamil Manik said.

KPU needs the help of LKPP in procuring election logistics worth more than Rp5 trillion, particularly for the listing and distribution of the logistics.

The Commission also planned to establish cooperation with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to help monitor the procurement of the logistics.

The logistics will include ballot papers, ballot boxes, and indelible ink that will be used in all polling stations throughout Indonesia.

Earlier, in January 2013, the Indonesian Police (Polri) and the KPU signed a memorandum of understanding on security arrangements for the general elections next year.

"The signing of the MoU is expected to help conduct the general elections as efficiently and effectively as possible," National Police Chief General Timur Pradopo said on the occasion.

The MoU between the commission and the police is a follow-up to Decree No.09/SKB/KPU/2008 and Decree No. 8/7/VII/2008 on general elections security arrangements.

Another MoU on integrated law enforcement was also signed by the national police, the general elections supervisory body and the attorney general.

The police chief expressed his commitment to ensuring professional, neutral and impartial elections in 2014.

Therefore, he called for the implementation of maximum security measures during the elections, which are held every five years.

"Among the main challenges to holding free and fair elections are money politics and controversies regarding the number of eligible voters," Timur Pradopo noted.

"If these problems are not managed properly, they could affect the social life of the nation," he stated.

General Timur Pradopo on April 15, 2013, said the national police will focus on intensifying security measures ahead of the 2014 general elections.

"We will particularly optimize detection and prevention," he stated.

The national police is currently briefing all regional police personnel on the elections` rules and regulations as well as on the agenda of legislative and presidential elections, according to him.

The political tension would likely to escalate ahead and during the general election processes, and therefore the security personnel must intensify their performance, he added.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono earlier this year warned that competition would be very tight in the presidential elections in 2014.

"The 2014 presidential elections would be different from the ones in 2004 and 2009 because there will be no incumbent in the 2014 elections while the political arena would be very wide to make the competition widen and fiercer than before," he said recently.

He, however, said that although it could be fierce, politics, general elections and presidential elections are not something to be scared of or worried about.

"There is nothing to be afraid of. God willing it will go well. The presidential election will be carried out directly and we had previously implemented the presidential elections twice with international institutions praising them as fair and democratic," he added.

Yudhoyono is from the ruling Democratic Party and will not seek reelection as by law he could not do it because he has been in the office for two terms.

Chairman of the General Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) Muhammad recently said, however, that general elections in Indonesia including elections of regional and local administration heads, are in general still disappointing.

"We have noticed that elections in Indonesia are still disappointing and far from expected in implementing democracy," Muhammad said in Bali, on April 12, 2013, when speaking before participants a training course on general election supervision for the media and mass organizations.

He viewed that most local elections, for instance, were not worth the cost, which was usually very high. The people and the regional administrations did not benefit quality political education from the elections, he said.

In fact, many local elections had fooled local people through various ways such as "money politics" and empty promises. Muhammad was worried that the people might get bored of and apathetic towards elections.

Voter turnout in Indonesian general elections was always quite high so far. ***1***
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T.F001/A/F001/F001) 16-04-2013 15:48:58