Bali councilors stated Monday they would ask the Minister of National Education to help clarify who should fill the top spot at the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI) in Denpasar.
The decision came out of a meeting attended by members of Bali's legislative council and the two groups locked in conflict, those siding with ISI's incumbent rector I Wayan Rai and those siding with I Nyoman Catra, the popular lecturer who won the March rectorial elections.
"We will ask the two parties to come with us, meet with the minister and get some clarity. We are giving them a week to prepare their materials and arguments," Deputy Speaker I Gusti Ketut Adhiputra told the meeting.
The three-hour meeting was organized as the councilors' response to the ongoing dispute about who should be the rector of Bali's largest arts institute.
Adhiputra said the meeting with the minister was necessary to clarify why the ministry issued a letter which, according to incumbent rector I Wayan Rai, annulled the March election results and ordered Rai to organize another election.
"We will ask the minister or relevant officials to explain the rationale behind the letter, particularly since all parties had already accepted the March elections outcome," he said.
In March Catra won 15 out of 23 faculty senate votes while Rai only got eight.
Initially Rai accepted the vote. However, in early August he said the national education minister had issued a decree annulling the vote, stating that 12 senate members did not possess the documents required for Senate membership.
Rai also said the decree instructed him to form a new senate and then organize another election by Aug. 26 at the latest.
Rai refused to present the written decree or a copy to either senate members or Catra's supporters for scrutiny.
Rai's moves to form a new senate and hold another rectorial election triggered a series of protests by ISI's senior professors, lecturers and students.
Backed by ministry officials, including Inspector General M Sofyan, Rai formed a new senate, purging all of Catra's supporters in the process, and held a reelection last week.
He won the reelection by a landslide, garnering 17 votes while Catra only received two.
After the second vote, Sofyan confessed that there had never been a ministerial decree issued on the matter. He said that the written document Rai held as his trump card was nothing but a ministerial memorandum, which carries far less legal authority than a decree.
During the meeting with councilors, Rai insisted he had done nothing wrong.
"I carried out the order given in the minister's letter, so it would be better if the local council invited the minister himself or officials from the ministry to explain their position," he told the meeting.
He said he was ready to accompany the councilors to meet the minister to seek clarification.
"I am ready even though the final word in that meeting could deny me my second term," Rai said.
Catra's lawyer Nyoman Budi Adnyana said he was ready to go to Jakarta to seek clarification from the minister himself.
"We share the same goal here, to straighten out the confusing facts and Wayan Rai's recent statements," he said.