Incumbent rector of Denpasar's Indonesia Arts Institute (ISI), I Wayan Rai, was finally reelected as rector Tuesday amid strong protests from thousands of students and lecturers demanding that he honor a court ruling on the election process.
The Denpasar State Administrative Court ordered Rai on Friday to stop the election of the institute's new senate members. Members of the senate -- which consists of senior professors -- constitute the voting college for the election of the rector.
Rai won 17 votes, while his contenders, namely I Nyoman Catra, who won the first rector election in March, secured just two votes and Nyoman Artayasa received none.
The current senate consists of new members elected just a few days ago. The election of the new senate paved the way for Rai's reelection as rector, as his supporters managed to purge the old senate, which was hostile to Rai and responsible for Rai's defeat in the March elections.
The new, pro-Rai senate organized Tuesday's election.
"I have already informed the minister himself about the court's ruling and he told me to continue both the election processes." Rai told reporters after the reelection.
"Besides, I also have consulted my lawyers and they allowed me to go ahead while they handled the legal aspects."
Students and lecturers gathered in front of the rectorate office since early morning. They staged a noisy protest to express their disagreement with the reelection. The protest featured the widely popular Cenk Blonk puppet show and a series of traditional musical ensembles.
National Education Ministry' Inspector General Mohammad Sofyan supported Rai's stance saying that Rai as the ministry's subordinate was obliged to follow the ministry's position instead of the court's ruling.
"As long as I know, the Minister himself has given a green light to what happened here today, therefore it is unnecessary to stop the reelection," he said, while waiting for the result.
The reelection was the latest development in the ongoing dispute between Rai and a large number of the institute's professors, lecturers and students, who supported Catra. Catra garnered 15 votes, while Rai won only eight in the March election.
Rai lobbied with ministry officials and reportedly managed to get a ministerial decree calling for a reelection. No-one outside Rai's inner circle has ever seen the decree.
Commenting on the reelection, Catra's lawyer Nyoman Budi Adnyana said that the reelection and its result had seriously violated the state administrative court ruling and therefore needed to be canceled.
"We will move on with filing a motion to the court and a case will be started this week," he said.
Commented on the protest, Rai said that he did not comprehend why they were not satisfied with the process as it was not mean't to benefit any particular party.
"We conducted the reelection because there were some mistakes in the past, so there is no conflict of interest here," he added.
However, he said that he was more than ready to discuss it with the dissatisfied party.
A number of students leaders tried to meet Rai but to no avail.
Hasan Basri, chairman of ISI's students body, acknowledged that the students opted to be neutral in this dispute.
"Therefore we suggested to the rector to postpone all activities related to the reelection process until the court come out with a final decision, but apparently he has paid no attention to our suggestions," he said.
Disappointed, the students then vented their anger by letting down the tires of all ISI vehicles.