Lack of candidates to put number of local elections in Indonesia on hold

Lack of candidates to put number of local elections in Indonesia on hold
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Local election organizers in several regions have failed to attract more than one pair of candidates to sign up to contest elections for regional heads by Monday, the last day of the second and final round of the candidate registration period, which will likely delay local elections in those regions until 2017.

In North Timor Tengah regency in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the local General Elections Commission (KPUD) only saw one candidate pair signed up for the upcoming local election by the time it closed the registration desk at 4 p.m. local time.

"The only pair who registered was Raymundus Fernandez and Aloysius Kobes. We extended the registration period from Aug. 1 to 3, but no more candidates registered by the closure," said North Timor Tengah KPUD head Felix Bere Nahak on Monday.

Under General Elections Commission (KPU) Regulation No. 12/2015, the KPUD can extend the registration period once if they have fewer than two tickets running. If there are not enough candidates in a region, they have to delay the regional election until February 2017.

"We will immediately hold a plenary meeting and issue a decision to delay the entire regional head election," Felix said.

Indonesia is planning to hold the simultaneous elections for regional heads in 269 regions on Dec. 9. As of Sunday, however, 10 regencies and municipalities were on the verge of seeing their respective elections delayed as each of them only have one pair of candidates registering for the elections.

Among the regions are North Timor Tengah, Asahan regency in North Sumatra, Tasikmalaya regency in West Java, Purbalingga regency in Central Java, Surabaya municipality in East Java and South Minahasa regency in North Sulawesi.

While local elections in Asahan, Purbalingga, and South Minahasa will continue after other candidate pairs registered on Monday, those in Surabaya and Tasikmalaya remain on the verge of delay after only one candidate pair registered for each of the two elections by the end of the extended registration period.

On Monday, just a few minutes before 4 p.m., the Surabaya KPUD received the candidacy registration of Dhimam Abror and running mate Haries Purwoko for the city's mayoral election. The KPUD, however, returned the registration documents because of administrative glitches.

"After we verified the documents, we could not find the signature of the deputy mayor candidate. So, we will wait until 11:59 p.m. local time," Surabaya KPUD member Purnomo Satriyo Pringgodigdo said.

West Java KPUD member Endun Abdulhaq also confirmed that no more candidate pair signing up for Tasikmalaya election. "A prospective candidate from the Gerindra Party indeed came to the KPUD headquarters but only to inform that he is canceling his candidacy plan," he said.

In Asahan, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Nurhalizah and running mate Amir Syarifuddin registered their candidacy at the local KPUD at 3:25 p.m. on Monday. The pair was nominated by the Gerindra Party and the Hanura Party, which have five and four seats respectively at the Asahan Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).

In Purbalingga, the Sugeng-Sutjipto pair, which has been endorsed by the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Democratic Party and the Hanura Party, finally signed up with the local KPUD on Monday.

In South Minahasa, two more pairs of candidates registered by the time the local KPUD closed the extended registration period.

Apriadi Gunawan in Medan, Agus Maryono in Banyumas, Lita Aruperes in Manado and Arya Dipa in Bandung contributed to the article.

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