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KPU criticised over 'smuggled article' helping corruption convicts run in elections

Kompas.com - May 22, 2023

Vitorio Mantalean, Jakarta – Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) suspects that a "smuggled article" has been inserted into the General Election Commission (KPU) Regulation on the nomination of legislative members in the 2024 elections.

The smuggled article, which covers the national House of Representatives (DPR), the provincial, regency and municipal Regional Houses of Representatives (DPRD) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), goes against Constitutional Court (MK) rulings Number 87/PUU-XX/2022 and 12/PUU-XXI/2023.

In the two rulings, the Constitutional Court determined that the former convicted criminals subject to a sentence of five years in prison or more must wait for a minimum period of five years after being unconditionally released before they can be nominated as a legislative candidate.

This provision was set out in KPU Regulations Number 10 and 11 of 2023 on legislative nominations, but the KPU added a new article that is seen as going against the Constitutional Court's ruling.

The new article stipulates that the provisions on the five-year waiting period do not apply to former convicted criminals that were also sentenced to the additional punishment of having their political rights revoked.

Although this article is not specifically related to corruptors, ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said that the article is liable to facilitate former corruption convicts being nominated as candidates.

This is because if they are subject to a prison sentence of five years or more, they do not need to wait five years after being unconditionally released to be able to be nominated as a candidate if the court also revoked their political rights.

Based on ICW's data moreover, the 31 corruptors who were sentenced to an additional punishment of revoking their political rights in 2021 only had their political rights revoked for an average of three years and five months.

Ramadhana took as an example a corruption convict who was unconditionally released in 2020 and wants to be nominated as a candidate."If you follow the logic of the Constitutional Court's ruling they must wait for a period of five years so the person concerned can only run as a candidate in 2025", Ramadhana said during a press conference on Monday May 22.

"But because of the actions of the KPU, they can now nominate themselves as of 2023, no need to wait five years, but just use the grounds of the additional punishment of having their political rights revoked", he said.

Ramadhana is concerned that this article will "inspire" corruption defendants with a political background or former public officials to hope that the panel of judges will revoke their political rights.

"Because the sanction [of revoking their political rights] is lighter than having to obey the MK's ruling that they must wait for the five-year period. This is the simple logic that will be built in the mind of corruption convicts that come from a political background", he said.

According to Ramadhana, this "smuggled article" needs to be dismantled.

While it is still being tested by the public, according to a draft version of the KPU regulation on legislative nominations seen by Kompas.com, there were as yet no articles on exceptions to the waiting period for convicts punished by having their political rights revoked.

"Who included this article? What is the argument? If discussed in a meeting, of course the public has the right to ask where the minutes of the meeting are. We want to see which commissioners proposed the inclusion of this article, or instead was there in fact another party (that proposed the inclusion of the article)", said Kurnia.

When sought for confirmation by Kompas.com on Monday evening, KPU election organisation technical division coordinator Idham Holik claimed he would respond quickly to the matter.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Duga Ada Pasal Selundupan di Aturan KPU yang Permudah Eks Koruptor Jadi Caleg".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/05/22/23185191/icw-duga-ada-pasal-selundupan-di-aturan-kpu-yang-permudah-eks-koruptor-jad