The Jakarta Post
Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo has reiterated that all active personnel should be able to exercise their right to vote. However, he said, such a right was likely applicable only in the next 10 years.
In a hearing at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Gatot asked lawmakers to reconsider extending voting rights for TNI members but suggested this should be done after 2024, when legislative, presidential and regional elections would take place simultaneously for the first time in the country’s history.
“We can implement this after the 2024 simultaneous elections. You can examine the exact time for TNI members to be able to exercise their voting rights,” he told members of a special committee assigned to deliberate a bill on elections.
Gatot said after 2024 was the best time for parties to determine the fate of voting rights for active military personnel, concerning the Indonesian public.
Gatot conveyed his suggestion to respond to lawmakers’ queries about his expectation that TNI personnel should be allowed to exercise their rights to vote. The military commander has highlighted the issue in public discussions several times, saying that by denying political rights of military personnel, the country treated them like foreign citizens.
Lawmakers expressed immediate rejections over Gatot’s proposal saying that TNI’s impartiality during elections is essential.
“It’s better for TNI to stand above all elements of the country,” said Golkar lawmaker Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa. Participating in the elections would disable TNI to embrace all groups impartially, he added. (ebf)
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