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Late vote count may jeopardise election in Indonesia

Publication Date : 06-05-2014

 

Just four days before the May 9 deadline, the General Elections Commission (KPU) has only finalised its vote count for the legislative election in 13 of the nation’s 33 provinces, prompting concerns that the rush to meet the deadline could place the legitimacy of the final vote in jeopardy.

The KPU’s vote count in provinces with large populations, such as Jakarta, North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, West Java, Central Java and East Java, were among those not yet finished.

On Monday alone, for example, the KPU was scheduled to wrap up vote tallying in six provinces: Riau, South Sulawesi, North Maluku, West Papua, Jakarta and East Java,

but as of 8 p.m. the commission had only held hearings on votes from Riau and South Sulawesi, both of which also failed to be finalised.

The 2012 Legislative Election Law mandates the KPU to officiate the national legislative vote tally within 30 days of the April 9 election. The law also carries criminal punishment if the KPU misses the deadline.

“Bawaslu [Elections Monitoring Agency] can file a formal report to the National Police against KPU commissioners [if the latter miss the deadline]. But I think the KPU commissioners won’t risk themselves,” Ray Rangkuti, the director of the Indonesian Civil Society Circle (Lima), an election watchdog, said on Monday.

“It seems they will finalise whatever they have on the last day. This will definitely lead to many complaints and jeopardise the legitimacy of the legislative election,” he added.

Ray predicted there would be an overwhelming amount of complaints filed by Bawaslu, the Election Organisers Ethics Council (DKPP) and the Constitutional Court. The court’s reputation was badly tarnished by a bribery case involving its former chief justice, Akil Mochtar.

The commission had targeted to wrap up the count of all provincial votes on May 6, with the remaining three days intended to provide time to finalise administrative matters before confirming the final numbers on May 9.

“We have revised the KPU regulation on the legislative election phases to extend the count to May 9, the same day we will officially announce it,” KPU commissioner Ida Budhiati said.

This is the fifth revision of the regulation.

Bawaslu chairman Muhammad previously said the substantial amount of complaints from political parties presented during vote count hearings was down to vote-rigging by election officials at local levels.

As of Monday evening, the KPU had wrapped up tallying the votes from 13 provinces, namely Bangka Belitung, Jambi, West Kalimantan, Gorontalo, West Sumatra, Bali, Central Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Central Sulawesi, Aceh, Banten, South Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

As many as 12 Provincial General Elections Commissions (KPUDs) have presented their provincial votes, but many complaints have postponed the finalisation of these votes.

KPUDs from the eight provinces of North Sumatra, East Java, West Java, Papua, West Papua, Riau Islands and Maluku have not yet provided their provincial tallies.

“From today, vote count plenary hearings will not be as open as before. We must take the time shortage into account,” KPU commissioner Ida said.

 

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