After losing in the July 9 presidential elections, as well as in subsequent attempts to challenge its results, Prabowo Subianto and his allies have taken the battle to the legislature. This time, it’s not the presidency at stake, but the right of Indonesians to directly elect their governors, mayors and district heads. A committee in the outgoing House of Representatives (DPR) – which will end its term on September 30 – is currently deliberating a Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada) that seeks to have these regional executive leaders be chosen by the local legislature (DPRD). This was the way it used to be, until post-Suharto era reforms led to Indonesians being able to directly vote for them for the first time in 2005. The controversial bill’s proponents tout the budget savings that could be made if Indonesia does away with the costly direct elections, which are held separately by each province. They also say indirect elections through the DPRD reduces the likelihood of election-related violence and “money politics”. Those against it – more than 80% of Indonesians according to a recent survey by the Indonesian Survey Circle – decry the threat to democracy and point out it’s unlikely “money politics” would actually decline. But arguments on the merits of either system aside, the issue here, really, is politics.Full Article: Prabowo revenge? New bill puts voting rights at risk.
Sep 12 2014