Jakarta – The General Elections Committee (KPU) said it would be ready to face regional election disputes filed by losing candidates with the Constitutional Court.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 127 regional election disputes filed with the Constitutional Court, comprising two relating to gubernatorial elections, 13 mayoral elections and 112 regental elections.
KPU commissioner Hasyim Asy'ari said his office had been preparing to face the disputes against the election results at the court.
"We have hosted a series of coordination meetings and short technical courses [for KPU officials] to prepare them for facing the disputes," Hasyim said on Tuesday, as quoted by tempo.co.
He said his office would further brief the regional KPU offices on arguments and evidence to be presented at the court.
The 127 disputes include those filed by candidate pair Machfud Arifin-Mujiaman who contested the victory of the Eri Cahyadi-Armudji pair in the Surabaya mayoral race and Muhamad-Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo pair who came second after the winning Benyamin Davnie-Pilar Saga Ihsan pair in the three-horse South Tangerang mayoral race. Both losing candidate pairs generally alleged that the winning pairs in respected regions engaged in "structured, systematic and massive" cheating.
Registration for filing disputes will be closed on Dec. 30 for gubernatorial elections and on Dec. 29 for regental and mayoral elections. The number of petitions contesting the election results can be expected to increase in the coming days.
Previously, the House of Representatives had approved a Rp 61 billion (US$4.2 million) budget for the Constitutional Court to handle the 2020 regional election disputes.
The government and lawmakers had insisted on hosting the elections to elect nine governors, 37 mayors and 224 regents during the pandemic, despite critics calling for a postponement, and the KPU found itself under pressure to draft special health measures for the Dec. 9 polls.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD recently said the elections had a high turnout despite being held during a pandemic and that no new infection clusters had emerged from election crowds.
According to Mahfud, the voter turnout "increased from 69.02 percent in the 2015 regional elections to 75.82 percent this year".
All 269 regions hosting the 2015 polls also participated in Dec. 9 elections, plus Makassar in South Sulawesi, which had to redo its 2018 mayoral race this year after a blank box won the majority two years ago.
The voter turnout was slightly below the KPU's target of 77.5 percent from the more than 100 million registered voters this year.
Based on the Constitution and Democracy (KoDe) Initiative's observations, most of the problems that arose during the elections were categorized as election violations and crimes. Of the 230 issues found, 48.26 percent were related to money politics, election administrators' bias, voter suppression, overdue campaigns, the destruction of ballot papers and mistreatment against campaign teams. Other issues included health protocol violations and technical and logistical constraints in regard to the distribution of ballots and personal protective equipment. (ami)