Observer: ‘Dowry’ in 2020 general elections is a necessity

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The Deputy Chairman of the Golkar Party Hetifah Syaifudian. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – The election of regional heads that will take place soon will be in the public spotlight, one aspect of which is a statement from party officials regarding various political steps taken. A statement by the Deputy Chairman of the Golkar Party Hetifah Syaifudian asserted her party did not charge any fees or political dowry to candidates in the Simultaneous Regional Election in 2020. Therefore, she asked all candidates promoted by the Golkar Party to utilize all positive energy for consolidation purposes and not waste energy.

“I am sure that there is no political dowry in the elections,” said Hetifah Syaifudian at the opening of the Regional Convention of the Golkar Party in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, Tuesday (03/03/2020).

According to her, the Golkar Party was very open for all prospective regional heads to register. No less than 105 potential candidates for Regent and Deputy Regent have registered with Golkar. She assured that Golkar surveyed all candidates. Regarding the survey costs, Hetifah invited all to collect funds so that there was no intervention from the Golkar’s national headquarters. Hetifah asserted the results of the survey will be announced openly.

“If they do not participate, we consider that they have withdrawn before being surveyed. And the survey of regional head candidates is necessary, so that prospective candidates who are nominated are truly able to develop their regions and communities,” Hetifah explained.

In addition to Golkar, a similar statement was made by Deputy Secretary-General of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Arif Wibowo who claim his party has not set any dowry in the nomination for the regional head election (Pilkada) 2020. “From the beginning, we were the first party to open registration or selection. without dowry,” said Arif at Jiexpo Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, last January.

Arif continued to explain that in the process funds must be spent for winning. Arif said that was a consequence. Money was needed for witness fees, costs for field campaigns, billboards, banners, and so on. “Surely there are costs and these have to be carried by all,” he said.

The PDIP had originally announced 44 pairs of prospective regional head candidates for the 2020 elections. However, this announcement was canceled on the grounds of the dynamics in the field. “We see the potential of the coalitions; this party cannot win alone,” Arif said.

A necessity
Steep political costs are still a problem. Among these is the “dowry” for political parties to get the blessing to become a regional head candidate. Political Observer Ujang Komarudin said even though political parties did not recognize that there were certain costs to get support during the elections, the reality is different. “Now these political parties do not usually recognize if there is a dowry. Even though the conditions on the field are different,” he told Independent Observer (4/3).

The Executive Director of the Indonesian Political Review (IPR) said, indeed, a politician must firmly deny that there is any dowry to become a candidate for a regional head. Because if you admit it, it will violate the law and tarnish the image of the party. “If there’s a dowry, that’s fine. But it was not finished there, but many regional heads complained about being asked the dowry. Besides, there are also regional head candidates who dare to ‘pay’ up to IDR 100 billion to get recommendations from parties to get supported as regional head candidates,” he said.

According to Ujang, the dowry has become a habit that has continued until now; if political parties want to clean themselves from corruption, want to build good political institutions, there should be no such dowry. But this is difficult because the dowry is income from political figures to move the party. “In the past, I once got a story from a regional head of one of the parties pegging IDR 5 billion from each candidate,” he said.

Although it is denied, Ujang still believes that the dowry in every election is real. So do not be surprised if the party’s question to candidates for regional heads who expect party support is how much money they have. “It is not even just talking, it must be proven by the bank account of the prospective regional heads,” he added.

The academician from the Al-Azhar University of Indonesia said, in addition to popularity and electability, candidates who were promoted also had to have achievements or qualities. So, those three conditions must be fulfilled. “There must be real work done for the people,” he said.

Ujang said the candidates that were nominated must be qualified so that the regions led would progress and develop. Conversely, when the chosen ones are not qualified, the area to be led will not advance, even will retreat, because the regional head cannot lead. (Dan)