Headlines

Elections preparation gets
more complex

Preparations for the 2014 general elections have grown more complicated with a ruling by the Election Organizers Ethics Council (DKPP) that allows 18 parties, previously declared unqualified by the General Elections Commission (KPU), to move forward with factual verification.

Several of the 18 political parties complained about the limited time for them to complete the requirements. One political party, the Freedom Bull National Party (PNBK), has boycotted the verification, saying the KPU is not reliable.

Aside from complaints and refusals from political parties, the DKPP ruling has brought criticism from experts as well as election observers who claim the decision has legal loopholes.

They argue that the council has overstepped its authority.

“Based on existing law, the DKPP is only authorized to examine and issue a ruling on alleged ethical violations by the KPU or the Election Supervisory Body [Bawaslu],” election observer I Gede Putu Artha said in Jakarta on Friday.

He was referring to articles 111 and 112 of Law No. 11/2011 on election organizers, which outline the authority of the ethics council. The articles state that the DKPP is only authorized to investigate alleged ethics violations by election organizers. Then, it has to make a decision concerning such allegations.

The council, therefore, has no authority to issue rulings that may affect the process of the election, according to Putu Artha.

At a hearing on Tuesday, the DKPP ruled that the allegation that the KPU had violated the ethics code was not proven. The DKPP ordered the KPU to dismiss four officials with the KPU secretariat for hampering election preparation.

Surprisingly, the DKPP also ordered the KPU to include 18 political parties that had been disqualified by the KPU at the factual verification stage.

According to the DKPP, the factual verification process must not extend the schedule prepared by the KPU.

Factual verification will determine which political parties are qualified to contest the 2014 elections. The result will be announced on Jan. 8 or Jan. 9 at the latest.

“Given the limited time, the ruling is unrealistic and impossible to carry out. If the KPU forces the process of factual verification on the 18 political parties, then it wouldn’t be optimal,” Artha said.

Political analyst with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Siti Zuhro said the rulings showed the DKPP did not want to take risks.

“The ruling is intended to please all parties in this dispute,” Siti said, referring to the KPU, the Bawaslu and the 18 political parties.

She said the ruling by the DKPP went beyond the council’s authority. She said the council, led by former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie, was a new institution that was still finding its way in terms of dealing with its authority.

The council is the supervisory body of the KPU and the Bawaslu. It has the authority to dismiss commissioners of the two election organizing institutions.

The council recently dismissed dozens of local KPU commissioners in Southeast Sulawesi, Tulang Bawang regency in Lampung and Depok in West Java. It also dismissed Ramdansyah, the former chairman of the Jakarta Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu Jakarta). (riz)

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