Jakarta Post, Wednesday, May 3, 2009
The legislative elections in Indonesia which just took place (on April 9, 2009) were intended to form a political platform on which could be established possible partnerships for the presidential race. While parties must wait for the final count, conducted by the General Election Commission (KPU), the general balance of power among political parties is already known publicly.
Jakarta Post, Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Before the Constitutional Court made its latest decision about the legislative elections recently, Indonesian political parties were fairly dominant in influencing legislative elections results.
In the first place, all legislative candidates could be nominated only by and through political parties. No politician could make himself or herself into a candidate without the sponsorship and the support of a political party.
Jakarta Post, Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Indonesia's legislative elections took place in all but two districts, in Indonesia, on April 9, 2009. The districts of East Flores and Lembata in the province of East Nusa Tenggara, were allowed to postpone polling until April 14, 2009, so that traditional Catholic celebrations of the Holy Week would not be interrupted.
The story Andreas Bali (60) tells me a the voting station contains a metaphor for his sense of democratic participation: you have to struggle and engage to make what are often painful social changes, but the benefits, when they do come, are vastly worth the burdens.
Excercising our political rights in every election is similar to excercising our ability to hope. On April 9, millions of Indonesians, including the residents of Pusung Village in the Malang Regency of East Java did both. Pusung exists in the hilly regions close enough to the borderline with Pasuruan Regency. We arrived in Pusung Village after an hour's cycle from Singosari.
The Karang Taruna youth organization in Tlogosari Village in Malang City, East Java could be a good model for the promotion of peaceful campaigning. They believe that political competition is healthy but that good neighborhood relations are more important.
In an orange painted office somewhere in Malang, about 30 senior citizens are waiting to collect their pension fee. When asked about the elections, they say they are adament to learn how to mark the ballot papers in the voting room on April 9. But the election commission KPUD has not come to explain the voting procedure.
In the previous elections, legislative candidates were elected according to their ranking on the ballot list. In this year's election those candidates who get the most votes will be elected. Hence, competition is fierce, and candidates use all available venues to reach voters including mosques and churches.
Students of senior high schools will also participate in the upcoming elections. Based on data released by the Department of Education (Depdiknas) and the Department of Religion (Depag), there are 3,413,839 students in Senior High School (SMA) or Islamic Senior High School (MA), and 1.847.148 registered as students in vocational high schools (SMK). In Malang City itself, there are 19.322 students of SMA / MA and 25.135 students of SMK. In the second level, most pupils are approximately 17 years old, the minimum age to vote. And yet they do not understand either the system or the country's voting procedures very well. What does it mean?
For many years, the apple has been the symbol of the town of Batu in Malang. Most of the residents work as farmers in the surrounding apple gardens. Now, political parties have planted campaign flags in the gardens.
In Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara, people find the voting procedure difficult to grasp. Many of those who have participated in a voting simulation held last week say the procedure is confusing. Some are thinking about not casting their ballot on April 9.
In 2004, Lembata's traditional market place was destroyed by fire. Hundreds of stalls and stores burned out. Now, it is a political market place as it is used by election candidates for campaigning.
For some, election campaigns may seem boring or even bothersome. Outdoor rallies cause traffic jams, and thousands of posters and banners are posted all over the city. But for those in the banners businesses, the campaign season is exciting - and profitable. They get orders in big volumes.
With 38 political parties participating nationally, and thousands of legislative candidates, the upcoming elections in Indonesia may be seen as a sign that democracy is deepening. Yet for some, the elections are overwhelming if not confusing. Such applies to four Javanese women living on the banks of the Kali Brantas river in Malang, East Java, whom we asked to comment on the upcoming election.
In an effort to boost voter turn out in the upcoming elections the Department of Religion of the municipality of Malang, in cooperation with the Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD) initiated a voter education campaign in the Sultan Agung Mosque in Batu, Malang, East Java, on March 24.
Election campaigns are not always about mobilizing people in rallies and speaking on stage. Syahrotsa Rahmania, a candidate for the National Awakening Party (PKB) in Malang, East Java, and an alumni of the NIMD supported Democracy School, has her own way of campaigning.