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Jakarta Post

KPU names more former graft convicts on ballot papers

  • Safrin La Batu and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 20, 2019   /   07:37 pm
KPU names more former graft convicts on ballot papers General Elections Commission (KPU) head Arief Budiman (right) and commissioner Ilham Saputra show a list of legislative candidates who are also former corruption convicts at the commission’s office in Jakarta on Tuesday. The KPU say a total of 81 ex-convicts will run in the April elections. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

The General Elections Commission (KPU) named on Tuesday another 32 former corruption convicts who are running in the legislative elections slated for April, with the Democratic Party and Hanura Party topping the list.

The new names bring to 81 the number of former-convict candidates named by the KPU. All of the former convicts are running for Regional Representatives Council (DPRD) seats in a variety of provinces, cities and regencies across the country.

“It is part of our responsibility to inform the people about this,” KPU head Arief Budiman told reporters.

“This list is likely to be the final one,” he added.

Hanura, which is part of the coalition which is endorsing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s reelection bid, has six legislative candidates identified as former corruption convicts in the latest list. In addition to the KPU’s previous announcement, the party led by Jokowi’s ally and DPD Speaker Oesman Sapta Odang now has a total of 11 former convicts running as legislative candidates.

The Democrats, the party of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and which is currently a supporter of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, has had six more candidates identified as graft convicts, adding to the four names the KPU previously announced.

Two former convicts are listed as running for Golkar, the oldest political vehicle in the country and which has strived to repair its image as being the most corrupt party, meaning that the party now has 10 former convicts on its legislative candidate list.

In a previous announcement, the KPU found that two Muslim-based parties — the National Awakening Party (PKB) and United Development Party (PPP) — were among the parties without former corruption convicts on their lists. On Tuesday, the commission revealed that the PPP has three former-convict candidates, while the PKB has two.

Only the NasDem Party and Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) do not appear to have any former corruption convicts on their lists.

The 81 names will be available on the KPU’s website,, after the commission has finalized all the other details concerning the listed candidates, such as the regions and the positions they are running for.

The KPU will not display the 81 names at polling stations, as the commission only does that for candidates who are no longer eligible to run or who have died.

The KPU has made it a routine practice to announce the names of election candidates convicted of corruption, sexual crime or drug offenses. The KPU initially banned individuals convicted of any of the three crimes to run in any election. The ban was stipulated in Article 4 of KPU regulation No. 20/2018, which was later annulled by the Supreme Court following a judicial review.

The KPU decided to publish the names of convicted candidates to let voters know the backgrounds of the candidates for whom they are going to vote.

“Voters should have enough information concerning the background of the candidates before they cast a ballot,” Arief said.

Golkar executive Bambang Soesatyo claimed the central executive board had no idea how the former graft convicts managed to be listed as DPRD legislative candidates, putting the blame on the regional boards.

“We don’t know [why they were chosen]. The central board only handles those running for the House of Representatives,” said Bambang Soesatyo, who is also the House speaker.

He went on to say, however, that the party could not prohibit the former convicts from running for election, because they had the right to vote and to run for office.

“There is no regulation banning them from running as legislative candidates. That’s their right,” Bambang said.

Like Golkar, Hanura politician Benny Rhamdani claimed that the former convicts had the right to run in elections, because they had already served their sentences. However, as a party executive, he said he was surprised that his party had contributed the highest number. “We’re surprised that we got 11. Maybe we should check first with the party’s regional [offices],” Benny said.

Election watchdog the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) said it was not enough for the KPU simply to announce the names, because not all voters across the country could access such information.

“It’s important to also display the names [of the former convicts] at the polling stations, so that the voters can directly get information about the track records of the candidates right before they cast their votes,” Perludem executive director Titi Anggraini told The Jakarta Post.

Unfortunately, Titi said, there was no specific regulation that obliged the election organizer to publish the names at the polling stations. Therefore, it should be a technical policy made by the KPU, she suggested.