09 October 2014
A bill that will transfer the election of local leaders in Indonesia from the people to the Regional Legislative Councils is currently being contested. The Indonesian parliament passed the bill to end direct local elections on 26 September. But outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced on 30 September that he is preparing an emergency presidential decree to overturn the decision and restore elections. Direct elections at the local level — or Pilkada — have been in place since June 2005.
Proponents of the abolition of direct local elections cite the high cost of state funding as well as uncooperative regional heads once elected. The controversial bill, if it is not overturned, will take effect less than a month before the inauguration of president-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi), himself a beneficiary of the Pilkada system.
Support for the bill has been increasingly linked with partisan interests. The Merah Putih coalition, led by losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, supports the bill, although some of its members, including the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), have flip-flopped over the issue. The most vociferous opponents of the bill are led by Jokowi’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle. Opponents of the Pilkada system invariably point to the financial burden and inefficiencies the state will have to bear if it organises elections at all levels.
…Jonathan Chen and Adhi Priamarizki are Associate Research Fellows at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 09/10/2014