House moves to set up ethics council for election bodies
Lawmakers and officials are moving to establish a legally required ethics council to oversee the work of the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Elections Monitoring Body (Bawaslu).
The plan was discussed at a meeting at the House of Representatives (DPR) on Monday that was attended by lawmakers, Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi and members of the KPU and Bawaslu.
“This ethics council will become a permanent body for five years and its secretariat will be attached to the Bawaslu office,” lawmaker Agun Gunanjar Sudarsa, a member of House Commission II overseeing bureaucracy and regional autonomy, said.
The lawmakers also agreed at the meeting that the House, the Home Ministry, the KPU and Bawaslu should proceed with nominating candidates for the Election Commissions Ethics Council (DKPP).
Under the 2011 Elections Law, the DKPP must be established with seven members: three to be proposed by the House, two to be proposed by the central government and one from both the KPU and Bawaslu.
The law also stipulates that the DKPP must be established no later than two months after the establishment of the election commission, which was done on April 12.
Observers have said that establishing an ethics council was essential to oversee the nation’s election commissions and prevent any ethics violations.
Based on the nation’s experience in 2009, most election disputes, fraud allegations and conflicts — some of which remain unsettled until today — could be attributed to the poor performance of election oversight commissions.
Agun said that an ideal candidate for consideration for the ethics council would be an academic or a public figure who has adequate capability, a knowledge of ethics in electoral administration and could organize fair elections.
“Its basic requirement would not be far different from that for selecting election commission members,” Agun, a Golkar legislator, said.
Agun added that the lawmakers would summon several experts on Wednesday to give their input, as lawmakers were authorized to determine three candidates for the ethics council.
Lawmakers would also seek input from former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie and from Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan to develop the selection criteria for DKPP members, he added.
Jimly and Anies were on the selection committee that developed a short list of candidates for the election commission that was given to the House for “fit-and-proper” testing.
Another Commission II lawmaker, Abdul Hakam Naja, said that the House had enough time to establish the DKPP before the end of the month.
“We aim to complete deliberations on this issue by May 30 and will bring the results to a House plenary session.”
Meanwhile, Gamawan said the government had not received the names of any potential nominees for the ethics council.
According to the minister, the government would discuss the issue and soon submit a list of its candidates for the council to the House for consideration.
“We still have a lot of time. The deadline is on June 12. Currently, we still have several names in consideration. At least they have experience and fully understand elections,” he told reporters.
Separately, People’s Voters Education Network (JPRR) national coordinator Yusfitriadi told The Jakarta Post that the ethics council would play crucial role in the 2014 general election.
“We need proper standards and a an organization to tackle ethics matter, because they often have multiple interpretations,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the most important criteria for election commission members are integrity, independence, and then competence.”
Yusfitriadi said that the ethics council convened for the last general election in 2009 did not function properly, causing many elections problems.
He said he hoped the new ethics council with new commissioners would be able to oversee the performance of the KPU and Bawaslu to ensure a fair and just election.
— JP/Rabby Pramudatama