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Jakarta Post

Defending direct elections

  • Pan Mohamad Faiz

Jakarta   /   Sat, July 9 2011   /  08:00 am

The political reform movement that began in 1998 has significantly transformed the democratic atmosphere in Indonesia through amendments to the 1945 Constitution. One of the fundamental changes relates to the electoral mechanism for regional leaders.

We used to have indirect elections where governors, mayors and regents were chosen by members of local legislative councils. A year after the enactment of the 2004 Law on Regional Administration, regional leaders were elected directly through a “one man, one vote” mechanism.

Six years after the law came into effect, however, many Indonesians are questioning whether direct election is still appropriate given the aims of democracy, since this system can also create economic, social and political burdens. Responding to this issue, the government recently proposed a bill on local elections, which intends to reinstate the old ...