Sole candidates versus blank boxes in 31 regions, bad precedent

Sole candidates versus blank boxes in 31 regions, bad precedent

an illustration of Indonesian elections. (ANTARA News/Ridwan Triatmodjo)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - House of Representatives' (DPR's) Commission II member, Guspardi Gaus, expressed concern over sole candidates competing with blank boxes in 31 regions during the upcoming regional head elections (Pilkada) on December 9, 2020.

"In my opinion, this sets a bad precedent in the context of political education and democratic education," Gaus noted in a statement here on Monday.

Gaus opined that Pilkada is a competition about visions and missions of regional head candidates, so the presence of sole candidates would defeat the very purpose of the elections.

The DPR Commission III member pointed out that despite Indonesia having the fourth-largest population in the world, it would have sole candidates competing with blank boxes possessing no vision, mission, or brains.

The presence of sole candidates was indicative of the fact that democratic and political education endeavors had failed to serve the purpose of choosing the best future leaders.

"That is also a sign of an unhealthy democracy. Hence, a breakthrough is necessary through laws pertaining to pilkada or elections," Gaus, a politician of the PAN Party, noted.

Gaus gauged that the trend of a sole candidate running alone or facing an empty box in the regional elections adds to the list of fraudulent methods that have a dire impact on democracy.

"A large number of sole candidates is a sign of unhealthy democracy. One way (to fix it) is to lower the threshold for candidacy for regional head elections. The requirement should be five to 10 percent of seats, and it is sufficient. This would make it easier for parties to nominate candidates," he affirmed.  

Indonesia will organize the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections in 270 regions in 32 provinces, except for Aceh and Jakarta, to elect governors in nine provinces, district heads in 224 districts, and mayors in 37 cities.

Based on the June 9 data, the number of eligible voters in the 2020 local elections reaches 106,774,112.

The pilkada campaign will be conducted for 71 days, from September 26 until December 5, 2020.
Related news: Successful local elections part of national agenda: Home Ministry
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