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Jakarta Post

KPK expresses concerns after most regional election candidates found to be backed by sponsors

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 12, 2020   /   11:48 am
KPK expresses concerns after most regional election candidates found to be backed by sponsors An officer presents the ballots during a simulation for Dec. 3 regional elections at the General Elections Commission compound in Central Jakarta on July 22. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

A recent study by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has found that 82 percent of candidates in the December regional elections are receiving funding from sponsors to run for office and urged the country to take extra measures to prevent graft.

KPK commissioner Nurul Ghufron said election organizers needed to continue working closely with the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) to uncover any illicit flow of money to and from regional election candidates.

“The PPATK has the ability to trace financial transaction suspected to be [used for] money politics [...] A KPK study finds that 82 percent of candidates receive funds from sponsors instead of using their own money,” Nurul said during Friday’s press conference hosted by Andalas University’s Center for Constitutional Studies (Pusako Unand).

At the same event, Coordinating Political, Legal and Human Rights Minister Mahfud MD said the practice of relying on sponsors in running for office would result in so-called policy corruption, in which policies were made only for the benefit of a select group — in this case, the sponsors. 

Read also: Bureaucratic power hinders civil servants from staying neutral in elections: Bawaslu

On Dec. 9, 270 regions in Indonesia, including nine provinces, 224 regencies and 37 municipalities, are set to hold simultaneous elections to pick new regional leaders. The polls will be first held in the country during a pandemic, forcing strict health protocols to be enforced to reduce face-to-face activities, such as massive campaigns, to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Nurul said he hoped fewer face-to-face activities could also reduce campaigning costs for candidates as high election costs were known to lead to corruption as successful candidates seek to gain back the money they spend upon assuming their post.

Furthermore, organizers should increase supervision on incumbent candidates to prevent them from using COVID-19 handling measures, such as the distribution of social aid, as a campaign medium, he said.

“If the elections run correctly, those who are elected leaders are most probably the ones with integrity, [...] those who will govern corrupt-free. And poorly run elections will result in leaders who will only focus on recouping the cost of running for office.”