Some Indonesian big shots could lose parliamentary seats

Some Indonesian big shots could lose parliamentary seats
People sit as they watch electoral officials check ballot papers during vote counting at a polling station.

JAKARTA - A number of prominent politicians may lose their seats in the House of Representatives after early results based on quick counts conducted by a number of pollsters after the April 9 legislative election have indicated that they failed to obtain the minimum number of votes needed to secure a legislative seat.

Additionally, a few big-name non-incumbents will likely fail to enter the House, including Agriculture Minister Suswono of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS); deputy speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, a candidate nominated by the United Development Party (PPP); and Deputy House Speaker Taufik Kurniawan of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

Two notable lawmakers set to lose their seats are House Speaker Marzuki Alie and the outspoken Sutan Bhatoegana, both of the ruling Democratic Party, which fared poorly in the election.

"I'll return my focus to my business. I have nothing to lose," Sutan said on Sunday when asked about the prospect of losing his seat at the House.

Sutan said that foul play could have contributed to his poor showing in the legislative election.

"I have launched my own investigation. In fact, we have directly gone to my electoral district, North Sumatra I, and I should have secured the only seat my party got in the district," said Sutan, who has been implicated in the ongoing investigation into corruption at the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas).

Provisional tallies have shown that Sutan lost the seat to fellow outspoken Democratic Party politician, Ruhut Sitompul.

Also, Marzuki has conceded that he would not be returning to the House with the next batch of lawmakers.

"During the campaign, I focused on improving the Democratic Party's electability, not my own," Marzuki said.

Marzuki acknowledged that widespread media coverage of corruption cases implicating former and current party members had contributed to the Dems' poor showing.

Based on the quick count results, the Democratic Party garnered only 9.7 per cent of the vote, down from 20.8 per cent in 2009.

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