While all Indonesian political parties say that they are committed to fighting the pervasive corruption in the country’s government and politics, many have shown exactly how much their anti-corruption pledges mean by nominating one or several candidates for next year’s elections that had previously been convicted of corruption charges.
The former commissioner for the General Election Commission (KPU), Hadar Nafis Gumay, said that there were at least 34 legislative candidates who had previously been found guilty of corruption but still passed inspection by the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to run in next year’s election.
The KPU passed a regulation earlier this year forbidding anybody who has been convicted on charges of corruption, drugs or sex crimes from running as candidates in elections, despite stiff opposition from political parties, the administration and Bawaslu. The election supervisory body has also defied the KPU’s regulation by registering numerous candidates with histories of corruption crimes.
According to Hadar, the KPU data shows that the Gerindra party, led by 2019 presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto, nominated the largest number of corruption ex-cons passed by Bawaslu with a total of five, including veteran Jakarta City Council member M Taufik. The National Mandate Party (PAN), which is part of Gerindra’s opposition coalition, was close behind with four.
Tied for third with three corruption ex-con candidates each are Golkar, PKP, Hanura and the Berkarya Party (led by chairman Tommy Suharto, who was also accepted as a candidate despite being a convicted murderer). The Nasdem Party, Garuda, Perindo, and the Democratic Party all have two former corruption convict candidates while PKS and PBB had one.
“Of the 34 corrupt legislative candidates, all passed through (Bawaslu’s) 28 criteria. We must question the integrity pact that has been signed by political parties in submitting candidates,” Hadar said on Sunday at a meeting at the office of Indonesia Corruption Watch on Sunday as quoted by BeritaSatu. He was referring to part of the new KPU regulations that require political parties to sign an integrity pact saying they would not nominate candidates in bad standing.
However not all parties are putting up corruption convicts. According to Hadar’s data, the ruling PDI-P party as well as PKB, PPP and PSI did not nominate any candidates with corruption convictions in their past.
The central KPU has said that it has instructed its regional branches to block the corruption ex-cons that Bawaslu allowed to register, but it is likely that the impasse between the two election bodies will be settled by a court decision over the KPU’s new anti-corruption regulations.