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Jakarta Post

After Kudus regent's arrest, election organizers call to ban ex-graft convicts from joining race

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 30, 2019   /   08:18 pm
After Kudus regent's arrest, election organizers call to ban ex-graft convicts from joining race 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 said there would be a total of 81 ex-convicts running in the April elections. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

Indonesia’s election organizers have raised calls to ban former corruption convicts from running in the regional elections next year, asserting the need for a strong legal framework to prevent them from having a chance to be elected.

The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) backed on Tuesday the General Elections Commission’s (KPU) suggestion recommending a revision to the 2016 Regional Elections Law and put a provision to ban ex-graft convicts from contesting the race.

The calls came following the arrest of Kudus Regent Muhammad Tamzil by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for allegedly accepting bribes — in a second corruption case implicating the regent, who previously served a prison sentence after being found guilty of corruption.

“There should be a breakthrough to create a legal umbrella that bans former graft convicts from using their political rights to run as candidates [in elections],” Bawaslu member Mochammad Afifuddin said as quoted by kompas.com.

Should the ban on ex-corruption convicts running in the elections be stipulated only in the form of a KPU regulation (PKPU), there was a chance that it might be annulled by the Supreme Court again, similar to what had happened to PKPU No. 28/2018 on legislative and regional council candidates, he said.

The 2018 PKPU — which stipulates that political parties are not allowed to nominate members who have been convicted of, among other things, corruption — was annulled by the Supreme Court in September last year after former graft convicts challenged the regulation at court.

If the ban was stipulated in the Regional Elections Law, for instance, it would provide a stronger legal framework and would subsequently give more power to the KPU to draft a regulation detailing the prohibition, Afifuddin said.

Tamzil, who served as Kudus regent from 2003 to 2008, was previously sentenced to one year and 10 months’ imprisonment with a Rp 100 million (US$7,159) fine in February 2015 for his role in a graft case pertaining to funding for educational facilities and infrastructure in Kudus in the 2004 budget.

He completed his sentence in December 2015 and won the regent’s seat in the 2018 regional elections. However, only months after he was installed, the KPK named Tamzil a suspect last week for allegedly accepting bribes pertaining to a career promotion in the regency administration.

KPU commissioner Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi said on Monday that revising the Regional Elections Law "is the most ideal option" to ban former corruption convicts from contesting elections

Pramono went on to express hope that the government, House of Representatives and political parties would give the KPU their political support on the matter. (gis/afr)