Denpasar’s mayor IB Rai Mantra Dharmawijaya is speaking out against parliament’s move last Friday to elect through Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD). Switching to DPRD means the end of the current direct voting system for governors and mayors.
Rai Mantra believes that stripping away direct elections could hurt the people. “As mayor of Denpasar, I disagree with electing regional heads through parliamentary elections,” he said to Tribun Bali on Friday.
The mayor’s stance is in line with the Association of Government Regencies of Indonesia (APKASI), as well as the Association of Indonesian City Governments (APEKSI), but also with president-elect Joko Widodo, who called the move a “big step back” for Indonesia.
Unsurprisingly, Jokowi’s losing presidential contender Prabowo Subianto is a supporter of this legislation, arguing that direct elections are expensive and corrupt.
“More than 60 percent of regional leaders were linked to corruption cases because they have spent a lot of money. This is the new reality, the time to evaluate our system,” said Rindoko Dahono Wingit, a lawmaker with the Gerindra party, as quoted by Reuters.
As if eliminating direct elections is a viable solution for ridding Indonesia of its wide-scale corruption problems. Please.
Just when Indonesia goes and elects a leader with the “common touch” and it turns and eliminates direct elections. This country is full of surprises and has quite the identity crisis to work out as Jokowi takes office.