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Government to entrust gubernatorial elections back to DPRD

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2011

Yuli Tri Suwarni, Bandung – The government is considering returning the mechanism in the gubernatorial elections from the current direct system back to vote counting at the Regional Representative Councils (DPRD) for the sake of efficiency and conflict evasion.

Regional Autonomy director general Djohermansyah Djohan said in Bandung, West Java, on Thursday that the mechanism change would be proposed in a draft bill on regional elections together with the revision of the regional administration law to be handed over to the House of Representatives later this month.

"We will return to the indirect gubernatorial election through the DPRD or representative democracy because the governors carry out their duties more as representatives of the central government than as heads of provinces," Djohermansyah said in a discussion on the dissemination of the grand design for the regional realignment (Desartada) 2010-2025 period.

Deliberation of the draft bill on regional elections, Djohermansyah said, was nearly complete before being disclosed to Cabinet members.

Under the new system, a gubernatorial candidate will be backed up by at least 15 to 20 percent of seats at the DPRD, proposed through the party or faction mechanism, he said. The candidates will later be registered by the Regional Election Committee (KPUD) before being elected at a special plenary meeting at the DPRD, he said.

Djohermansyah also said the party or faction would be entitled to propose only gubernatorial candidates because it would be the duty of the governor designate to propose three deputy candidates from the provincial administration to the Home Ministry.

Therefore, the position of deputy governor will be filled by a public official at the same level of regional administration, he said. Djohermansyah disclosed that his office conducted a kind of efficient simulation brought about by the indirect election through the DPRD.

"We have not calculated in detail, but to be extreme, the recent process to elect Soekarwo as the East Java governor in two rounds cost up to Rp 979 billion. Through the DPRD without campaigns, it will cost no more than Rp 100 million mainly to pay election committee members," Djohermansyah said.

In its latest report in November last year, the International Crisis Group (ICG) recorded that 20 of more than 200 regional polls had turned violent because of mob action supporting losing candidates. The report highlighted a violent trend that has placed direct local elections under national scrutiny.

With regard to new autonomous regions, Djohermansyah said there would be no new autonomous regions this year even though there had been 186 new proposals received by the Home Ministry thus far. He said Indonesia made the most regional divisions in the world with 205 new regions in the period between 1999 and 2009.

Therefore, the government will make a realignment because the many new autonomous regions only burden the state budget, Djohermansyah said, adding that the central government had been forced to earmark Rp 2.6 trillion for the 40 new autonomous regions in 2004. The financial burden jumped to Rp 47.9 trillion in 2010, he said. "It's a bit ironic that at a time when many countries are reunited, we divide ourselves," he said.