Direct elections could lead to impeachments

  • 2014-10-01

Experts warn that the newly passed regional elections ( Pilkada ) bill, which mandates indirect local elections, contradicts the Indonesian presidential system and will likely make local administrators prone to impeachment.

'€œOur government adopts a presidential system in which the president and vice president are elected directly by the people. This means that a representative-based mechanism to select regional heads is inconsistent with the current government system,'€ said Abdul Gaffar Karim, a political expert from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, in a discussion Wednesday.

He further said the House of Representatives'€™ decision to pass the Pilkada draft bill into law was a move that was partial in nature. The House must first change the country'€™s government system before it passed the Pilkada bill, he stated.

The House'€™s decision to pass the Pilkada bill triggered public outcry as it mandated the replacement of direct elections for regional heads with indirect elections.

Abdul said the House should have first conducted a thorough evaluation on how the government system worked so that it could create election system changes that were comprehensive, impartial and not based on certain groups'€™ interests.

The political expert rejected speculations that indirect elections, as mandated by the Pilkada bill, were the proper mechanism for local elections saying that direct elections had been marred by money politics.

'€œIf 298 regional heads were allegedly involved in corruption because direct elections were too costly, it doesn'€™t mean that we have to scrap the system. The corruption happened because those regional heads were corrupt persons and showed that the Corruption Eradication Commission ( KPK ) and other legal institutions had not yet been working effectively,'€ he said.

Herry Zudianto, former Yogyakarta mayor from the National Mandate Party ( PAN ), said the representative-based mechanism would be lead to impeachments. With the country'€™s current low political capacity and maturity, it was possible for regional heads to face impeachment charges before the end of their term of office.

'€œEven small differences of opinion could lead to the regional heads facing impeachment by the Regional Legislative Councils. This must be anticipated, otherwise, it is our people that will suffer losses,'€ he said. ( ebf )( ++++ )

[Originally published in Jakarta Post]

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