Jakarta. The General Elections Commission has decided to extend the registration period for candidates vying for regional head posts in seven regions — the elections of which are facing postponement as each has had only one pair of candidates.
The commission, also known as KPU, made the decision based on a recommendation from the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu).
“Basically, the KPU orders [our local offices] in seven districts and municipalities to follow-up the recommendation of the Bawaslu,” KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik told a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.
“Local KPU offices in these seven areas are thus asked to revoke their [initial] decision to postpone the elections,” he added.
The seven regions are Tasikmalaya in West Java; Surabaya; Blitar and Pacitan in East Java; Samarinda in East Kalimantan; Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara; and Midnorth Timor in East Nusa Tenggara.
The seven regions failed to come up with at least two pairs of candidates each as of Monday — the previous registration deadline had already been extended by the KPU.
Information concerning the extension will be disseminated in each region from Thursday through Saturday, and registration will be re-opened from Sunday through next Tuesday.
Elections for these seven regions, along with 262 others, will therefore still be held on Dec. 9, Husni said.
Bawaslu’s recommendation came following two meetings held two consecutive days led by President Joko Widodo to discuss the issue; the first was attended by officials from KPU, Bawaslu and the Election Honors Council (DKPP) and the other by members of the parliament, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.
Joko called for the consultation meetings as experts and politicians expressed concerns that postponing the elections could lead to a leadership void in the affected regions.
House of Representatives deputy speaker Fahri Hamzah warned that the problematic situation in the seven regions should not disrupt election scheduled in 262 others.
Should the seven areas still fail to come up with at least two pairs of candidates by the next registration deadline, he said, Joko should issue a regulation in-lieu-of-law that will extend the incumbents’ terms in office.
Fahri argued that if the president chose to appoint others to serve as acting regional heads instead, there would be high resistance from within the local bureaucracies.
“This [shortage of election candidates] is only happening in these seven regions; don’t let that disrupt [elections] in other parts of Indonesia,” Fahri said.
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