"From 2004 to 2018, in addition to creating positive aspects, direct regional head elections have various opposite excesses, including identity-based social conflicts and polarization of the community into two conflicting camps triggering social vulnerability and high costs," Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian stated here on Friday.
The high cost of direct regional head elections had an impact on the quality of leadership in regions, he remarked.
If the negative excesses of regional head elections went unheeded in the democratic life in Indonesia, they would give rise to the seeds of social conflicts in the community, he noted.
"Hence, it is time to evaluate the effectiveness of direct regional head elections. However, we want the evaluation to be conducted academically by involving external independent parties, specifically universities," he stated.
In response, the representatives of the nine universities positively welcomed and praised the home affairs minister's initiative to hold a meeting to evaluate the effectiveness of direct regional head elections.
"This is our first opportunity to meet with the home affairs minister following a polemic over the home affairs ministry's plan to change the direct regional head elections," stated Wawan Mas'udi of the Political and Administrative Department of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta.
Mas'udi noted that several people had misconstrued the home affairs minister’s statement that he would return the election system to indirect regional head elections.
"It turns out that the home affairs minister aims to evaluate direct regional head elections in Indonesia comprehensively to reduce their negative excesses and adjust them to developments in the community," he stated.
Ferry Liando of the Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, North Sulawesi Province, stated that his university had experience in conducting researches on regional head elections, especially from the aspect of local culture in line with the minister’s expectations.
Liando opined that the minister's initiative to adjust regional head elections to the social and economic conditions of the community in regions is worth supporting.
The other representatives came from the University of Indonesia (UI), University of North Sumatra (USU), Andalas University, Padjadjaran University, Lambung Mangkurat University, and Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa University.
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