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Jakarta Post

Prospect of a presidential run-off looms large

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Fri, June 13, 2014   /  09:54 am

Although the July 9 presidential election features just two competing candidates, the General Elections Commission (KPU) is anticipating the possibility of a second round of voting as required by the current Presidential Election Law.

The KPU said on Thursday that in order to be declared the winner in the presidential election, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent-plus-one of the votes, while also garnering a minimum of 20 percent of the votes in more than 17 provinces.

Therefore, if neither the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle'€™s (PDI-P) Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo-Jusuf Kalla ticket, nor the Gerindra Party'€™s Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa ticket were able to meet both conditions, then another round of voting would be required by law. The second round of voting would be held on Sept. 9.

'€œIt is possible,'€ KPU commissioner Arief Budiman said. '€œWhat is clear is that meeting both conditions is mandatory for securing the presidency.'€

He added that the KPU had consulted legal and constitutional law experts, all of whom agreed with the KPU'€™s legal analysis.

'€œWe have met with the experts. They too believe that the first basic principle is that a ticket needs to win as many votes as possible. The second principle is that there must be an even electoral distribution, meaning that the pair is elected by voters from many areas, not just by a majority of voters from a few areas,'€ Arief said.

The KPU issued the statement following mounting calls for the commission to consult the Constitutional Court on the matter.

Many groups have advised the KPU to file a judicial review with the court, hoping the court would then decide to make winning 50 percent-plus-one of the popular vote the sole presidential election requirement.

The Association for Election and Democracy (Perludem) executive director, Titi Anggraini, urged the KPU to file the judicial review.

She said that without changing the law, voters faced the prospect of voting twice for the same candidates.

'€œI'€™m sure that the voters don'€™t wish to see a second round of voting for the same candidates,'€ she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Titi said that based on the distribution of voters, it was likely that this year'€™s presidential election would be staged in two rounds.

'€œThe highest concentration of voters is in Java. It is possible for the winner to receive a majority of his votes from Java rather than from other provinces in the country,'€ she said.

Titi said that Perludem planned to file a judicial review to the Constitutional Court on Friday.

Commenting on the prospect of a judicial review, Arief said that the KPU would stick to the Presidential Election Law in the election.

'€œThis is the course we must take. I agree that this election has to be effective and efficient, but whether it will be held in one round or in two rounds, we'€™ll have to wait for the results [of the election],'€ Arief said.

He said that the KPU was ready to hold the election in two rounds if neither of the presidential candidates met the two conditions set by the law.

'€œFrom the very beginning, the KPU has been prepared for three rounds of elections [this year]: One legislative election and two rounds of the presidential election. Without a doubt, the KPU is ready. It'€™s no problem at all,'€ Arief said.

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