Repeat elections: A trap for money politics

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Money politics, the bane of repeat elections. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO – Repeat elections will be held in 16 regions. The General Election Supervisory Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilihan Umum – “Bawaslu”) Violation Enforcement Division continues its preparations for the upcoming repeat elections of the Simultaneous Regional Elections 2021. Bawaslu has formulated a Circular concerning Joint Resolution of Violations with the Police, the Attorney General’s Office, and the State’s Civil Apparatus Commission (Komisi Aparatur Sipil Negara – “KASN”).

Bawaslu Ratna Dewi Pettalolo stated that the smooth and effective implementation of the Circular strongly depends on the support of the Police and the Attorney General’s Office. Furthermore, as it is related to the State’s Civil Apparatus (Aparatus Sipil Negara – “ASN”), it is only natural that KASN gets involved. “We expect institutional support in order to be able to prosecute violations properly,” he said.

Indonesia Political Review Executive Director Ujang Komaruddin believes that money politics is a persistent bane of repeat elections, including in the upcoming Regional repeat elections 2021. “The candidates will pull out all the stops to ensure victory, especially since their struggle started in the 2020 Regional Elections. There is no way they will take it easy during Repeat elections,” he said.

Therefore, money politics will top the list as a means of vote-grabbing – even more so than during the 9 December 2020 Regional Elections. “This is the absolute final fight in the context of Supreme Court decision. In other words, we need to be even more aware of money politics as candidates will stop at nothing to win the public’s sympathy. Certainly they won’t allow victory to be snatched from under their noses,” Ujang said. “Especially in this time of the pandemics. For some time ahead, the people will have additional expenses (due to Ramadhan and Eid-el-Fitr), making money transactions during repeat elections even more likely. Bawaslu’s great task is to prevent money politics, but they are very hard to detect. Bawaslu must keep its eyes and ears open wide and involve the people in its effort to monitor and stop suspected money politics. Otherwise, Bawaslu will find it extremely hard to suppress potential vote trading transactions in the upcoming regional repeat elections.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”) Bambang Soesatyo (“Bamsoet”), stated that money politics practices during regional repeat elections has a huge potential of occurring, as repeat elections is the last-ditch effort of competing candidates. “This is even more true in the current round repeat elections, because now is the Holy Month of Ramadhan leading up to the great celebration of Eid-el-Fitr,” he said. “During this period, money politics can be covered up as part of religious rituals, such as zakat and other charitable contributions. In order to avoid them, the Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”), the Bawaslu, and Law Enforcement forces must increase their alertness in order to prevent violations that damage the essence of regional repeat elections to occur. After all, the smaller the voting region is, the higher the potential for violation is.”

Bamsoet went on to request that KPU, Regional KPU, and Bawaslu improve their coordination with the National Army and National Police, specifically in mapping areas that are prone to violations and/or riots, and in deploying members of these Forces in those areas. “This is a necessary effort to ensure the security and success of repeat elections. Bawaslu staff in each repeat election region must maintain their commitment and not slack their alertness, specifically to monitor and prevent money politics during repeat elections,” he said. (des)