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Jakarta Post

Good outweighs bad in direct regional elections

  • Karina M. Tehusijarana
    Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Mon, November 18, 2019   /  09:24 am
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A man dips his finger in indelible ink in East Denpasar, Bali, after voting in the Bali gubernatorial election in June 2018. The government and the country’s biggest political parties have signaled their intention to abolish direct public participation in electing local leaders.(JP/Anggara Mahendra)

Nearly 15 years after the first direct regional elections were held in Indonesia, the government and the country’s biggest political parties have signaled their intention to abolish direct public participation in electing local leaders, citing high costs that could lead to increased corruption. But observers and experts have said that direct regional elections, though flawed, are a vital part of Indonesia’s post-Soeharto democracy – resulting, among other things, in Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s presidency – and that steps could be taken to improve the process without scrapping it altogether. Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian first floated the idea earlier this month, on the sidelines of a meeting with House of Representatives Commission II, saying the high costs of competing in regional elections could prompt elected leaders to turn to graft t...