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Jakarta Post

KPU pledges impartiality amid vote-rigging concerns

  • Hans Nicholas Jong and Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 16, 2014   /  09:20 am
KPU pledges impartiality amid vote-rigging concerns

Action replay: An official holds up a revote card in Pandantoyo hamlet in Kediri, East Java, on Tuesday. The presidential election was repeated in the hamlet after the authorities found a resident had voted twice on July 9. Antara/Rudi Mulya

The General Elections Commission (KPU) pledged on Tuesday that it would remain impartial amid allegations of rampant manipulation taking place in the manual vote tabulation process.

The commission also vowed that it would resist any political pressure to favor one presidential ticket over the other.

KPU commissioner Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said on Tuesday that the commission would not risk its credibility by allowing vote manipulation to happen on a wide scale.

'€œThank God, till now there has been no interference in our decision-making,'€ he told reporters at his office at KPU headquarters in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Ferry was responding to a call by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) for all institutions involved with the electoral process, namely the KPU and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), as well as the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI), to maintain their professionalism and neutrality, particularly while votes were still being tabulated.

Komnas HAM warned that with only a slim margin separating the two presidential pairs based on numerous quick-count results, the potential for vote rigging had never been higher.

'€œVote-counting manipulation could be deemed a violation of human rights because the basic rights of the people will [eventually] be denied,'€ Komnas HAM chairman Hafid Abbas said.

In its investigation, Komnas HAM found that manipulation might have occurred in areas where it had conducted election monitoring activities.

Komnas HAM dispatched observers to monitor voting in 13 provinces; Aceh, North Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta and its surrounding areas, East Java, Central Java, West Kalimantan, Papua, West Papua, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and Maluku.

It has been alleged that votes were inflated in favor of Gerindra Party presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

One of the most blatant acts of tampering allegedly occurred in the regencies of Sampang and Bangkalan on Madura Island, East Java, just three days after the July 9 election. The Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo-Jusuf Kalla campaign team reported that the pair had won zero votes in a number places in the two regions.

Sigit Jojowardono, KPU chief of the technical bureau for elections, said that even though Jokowi did not get any votes at 17 polling stations in Sampang, Madura, it did not mean that manipulation occurred.

'€œIdeally, there should be a witness. The witnesses are sent by each campaign team. If they can'€™t send witnesses that'€™s fine. The public can always monitor the vote counting and file a report with the Bawaslu,'€ he said.

Enggartiasto Lukito, coordinator of witnesses and vote counting for Jokowi'€™s campaign, said it was obvious that manipulation had taken place in Madura.

'€œIn some cases, votes for Prabowo were added and votes for Jokowi were reduced. In [several polling stations in] Madura, there were no votes for Jokowi and the C1 forms were not signed by witnesses,'€ Enggartiasto said, referring to the vote tabulation form.

He said that there were statements from Jokowi supporters in Sampang that they had indeed cast their ballots for that candidate. '€œThey said they voted for Jokowi [...] KPU, Bawaslu, the police, they have to do something,'€ he said.

Separately, KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik maintained that the commission would resist any political pressure.

Husni said that there was no pressure from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he called him
last week.

The President, who made the call while he was being accompanied by State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam and his two advisors, Daniel Sparingga and Teuku Faizasyah, urged the KPU to involve both camps in monitoring the vote tabulation process.

'€œThe President said that it'€™s really important not to leave the [vote tabulation] process completely in the hands of the KPU, because on July 22, one of the candidates would say that the KPU is not being objective,'€ Husni said.

'€” Josh Kelety contributed to this report from Jakarta

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