National

Presidential candidates
told to resign

State officials wishing to contest the presidential and vice presidential election next year will have to resign from their posts at least nine months before voting commences, a bill says.

The House of Representatives' special committee deliberating the presidential election bill proposed the polls be held during the first week of July in 2009.

"That means the presidential and vice presidential candidates must relinquish their official posts in October this year," committee chairman Ferry Mursyidan Baldan told Antara on Tuesday.

The President and Vice President, however, are exempt from the rule, according to the bill.

Ferry said the President and Vice President could just take leave after registering with the General Elections Commission (KPU) as candidates.

"The KPU will disqualify state officials who run for the presidential and vice presidential posts but fail to produce their letters of resignation," he said.

Ferry said the requirement was partly aimed at dissuading unserious candidates from contesting the election.

A number of state officials, including politicians and governors, have been touted as potential candidates. There is also a possibility that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla will run against each other in the election.

The requirement was put into effect in June for candidates contesting regional elections.

Lampung Governor Sjachroedin ZP was among those encumbered government officials forced to relinquish their posts to seek reelection.

The condition was written in an amendment to Law No. 32/2004 on regional administration.

Sjachroedin filed an appeal against the clause with the Constitutional Court.

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