News focus – Indonesia to hold local elections simultaneously in 171 regions

Jakarta, People in 17 provinces, 39 cities, and 115 districts in Indonesia are scheduled to elect new governors and vice governors, city mayors and vice mayors, as well as district heads and deputy district heads on Wednesday (June 27).

The provinces that will take part in the simultaneous elections include the most populous provinces, such as West, Central, and East Java. Therefore, the elections have been considered as very important in view of the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled in April next year.

Indonesian Vice President M Jusuf Kalla has expressed his confidence that the regional elections would be peaceful and smooth.

So far, “there have not been any conflicts (in welcoming the elections) in the Indonesian regions. God willing, the election implementation will be peaceful,” he said at the Vice Presidential Palace on Thursday.

He stated that voters could vote in a safe, free, and confidential manner.

He also believed that there would be no major conflicts because of the absence of a national axis that could improve competition during the elections.

In the upcoming simultaneous elections, a political party could coalesce well with other parties.

For example, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has been in coalition with Democratic Party in the regional head elections of the provinces of Central Java and West Kalimantan, while PDI-P has been in coalition with Gerindra Party in East Java province.

With regard to the elections, President Joko Widodo has called on the people to preserve national unity.

He has underlined the importance of maintaining stability and security as they are essential for the nations development.

Speaking during a visit to Asshiddiqiyah 3 Islamic Boarding School of Sukatani Village, Cilamaya Wetan Sub-district of Karawang District, early this month, when he also met ulemas and community leaders, the president noted that, “I believe when the political and security situation is stable, the development of our nation will continue. Indonesia can be a big country with the strongest economy.”

The government estimated that Indonesia could be among the top four of the worlds strongest economies by 2045.

Widodo has always reminded the people that elections happen only once in five years and so they must not risk conflicts that could disrupt the national unity.

“In democracy, it is common for people to have different political views, and so differences must not break the relations between us as fellow citizens,” he explained during land certificate distribution in Bekasi in May.

“The cost would be too big if it happens,” he stated, while reminding people on the greatness of the country in terms of its geography, population, and diversities.

“Therefore, choose the best leaders and be united again. Do not be provoked and be in enmity with your neighbors and friends,” he remarked.

“We have so far been known as civilized and friendly people. Let not our political choices break us. We can always be united because we have Pancasila (five principle state ideology),” he stressed.

A total of 171,507 police personnel; 36,968 TNI (military) forces; and 756,470 community guards will be deployed to assure security during elections in the 171 regions.

The head of multimedia bureau of the Indonesia Polices Public Relations Division, Brigadier General Rikwanto, highlighted on Monday that security forces would stand guard to assure security in 392,226 precincts to be set up for the elections.

Meanwhile, Widodo has assured neutrality of police and military forces in the elections.

“Neutrality of TNI, Polri, and National Intelligence Agency (BIN) is absolute during the implementation of general and regional head elections,” he revealed, after visiting the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, on Monday.

He has conveyed to the Polri Chief, TNI Commander, and Head of BIN to always maintain neutrality in the democratic party.

He also asked the whole Indonesian society to jointly oversee the order of the implementation of general and regional head elections.

He stated that violations during the elections will be dealt with firmly.

“If you come across a party that is not neutral, please report it to the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu),” he explained.

Prabowo Subianto, the leader of the opposition party Gerindra, has called on the TNI, Polri, and BIN to be neutral with regard to the implementation of the elections.

The Indonesian government has decided to declare June 27 as a national holiday to give people full time to participate in the elections.

Source: Antara News