I hope the regional head elections would run smoothly and peacefully ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - All efforts have been taken to ensure that the nationwide simultaneous regional head elections in Indonesia on December 9, 2015, will be peaceful and credible without any conflicts.

Indonesians are poised to go to polls in the first regional head elections to be held simultaneously on Wednesday in some 269 regions, or 53 percent of the countrys entire regions.

More than 800 pairs of regional head candidates will contest in the elections to elect nine governors and vice governors, 224 district heads and their deputies, and 36 mayors and their deputies.

According to preliminary data provided by the General Election Commission (KPU), there will be 1,820,143 first-time voters, accounting for 1.85 percent of the total eligible voters.

In light of this, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has expressed hope that the nationwide regional elections on Wednesday would run smoothly, peacefully, and without conflict.

"I hope the regional head elections would run smoothly and peacefully as this would demonstrate good democracy in Indonesia that we continue to uphold," the vice president remarked while opening the Election Visit Program for Head of Regional Election 2015 at the Vice Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

Addressing the participants of the Election Visit Program, Kalla stated that he has been an election observer in numerous countries, including Azerbaijan.

According to the vice president, democracy in Indonesia is an option, although it is realized that the democratic system is not perfect but better than authoritarianism.

Kalla noted that the simultaneous regional head elections will be monitored by foreign observers such as election organizers from abroad.

Further, the vice president stated that foreign observers need to witness the first ever nationwide simultaneous regional head elections to obtain firsthand information on transparent democracy in Indonesia.

"I am grateful that Indonesia needs foreign observers to witness that democracy in the country is good, transparent, and accountable," Kalla remarked.

He said the participants of the Election Visit comprised election observers and activists from Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Australia, in addition to 25 ambassadors from friendly countries.

Kalla said the participants of the Election Visit will observe the process of regional head election in South Tangerang area.

"There, you will see how the women in Indonesia are highly respected since there are female candidates as regional heads. This is proof that there is openness in democracy and gender," the vice president noted.

According to Kalla, the involvement of both foreign and local election observers is important as every step of democracy needs to be observed and witnessed that all is transparent and open.

This is to ensure that the rights of the community to cast their votes in the regional elections are upheld.

Chairman of the General Election Commission (KPU) Husni Kamil Manik noted that the election participants will be able to observe how the elections in 2015 are being organized and will visit polling stations in South Tangerang.

"In this visit, we hope they will be able to give an explanation to all participants on what we have done to improve the quality of elections," Manik added.

Earlier on last Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also expressed optimism that the upcoming regional head elections would run peacefully.

"We are being supported by the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs and his staff to ensure that the simultaneous elections will run smoothly and peacefully," the minister stated.

According to him, the authorities have declared alert status in several regions considered prone to conflicts during the elections.

Coordination with the election executors, the General Election Commission, and the General Election Supervisory Body (Bawalu) are expected to help minimize potential problems, he noted.

The minister is hopeful that maximum security measures would be able to anticipate conflicts among supporters of the candidates.

In the meantime, National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti has urged urged security personnel to anticipate possible conflicts or violence during the local elections.

All personnel must be ready to anticipate such incidents and focus on their respective tasks, he emphasized.

"Every party must be committed to protecting the pilkada to make it a success," he affirmed.

Central Executive Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) Chairman KH Said Aqil Siroj has said the regional election this year is the largest festival of democracy and the first time held at the same time across the country.

Said Aqil noted that there are always conflicts and tensions in a political rivalry as each contestant wants victory, but the rivalry should end with the conclusion of the elections.

"There should be no chaos. Everyone should accept the official decision. Remember that we are all brothers. The victors and the losers are brothers," he said.

He expressed hope that the people will hear their conscience in exercising their right to elect, not under pressure such as money politics.

"Let us be always led by our inner self and not bow to pressure of money politics," he said.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2015