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Jakarta Post

House tells court campaign leave mandatory

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 5, 2016   /  09:05 pm
House tells court campaign leave mandatory Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama enters a courtroom at the Constitutional Court on Aug. 22. The governor is challenging the Regional Elections Law, asking the court to make campaign leave optional, not mandatory. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

The House of Representatives has opposed a motion submitted by Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to allow incumbent regional head candidates to continue working during a campaign period instead of taking leave. 

Testifying at the Constitutional Court to elucidate about the Regional Elections Law to the justices in Jakarta on Monday, lawmakers argued that campaign leave was not a choice but was mandatory as it should be a period when candidates presented their platforms to the public.

Ahok is challenging an article in the Regional Elections Law that obliges incumbents to take leave to campaign. He wanted justices to rule that taking a leave was optional. Ahok said that he did not want to campaign because his absence would cause a disruption in the capital’s administration. 

Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, a legislator in House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, said Ahok did not have any legal standing in challenging the law and should have voiced his objection to the article in the law long before the election early next year.

“It is incorrect for the petitioner to question campaign leave […] There will be a regional secretary to replace him temporarily,” Sufmi said during the hearing, adding that the campaign period was a common phase in all elections. 

Echoing Sufmi, Arteria Dahlan of House Commission II overseeing home affairs, said taking leave during a campaign period was mandatory for an incumbent. Campaigning, he said, must be done to introduce candidates and to promote their platforms to the public.

He also questioned Ahok’s legal standing because he had not as yet registered as a governor candidate. (wnd/evi)

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