Jakarta. Chief Security Minister Wiranto on Wednesday (07/03) said that upcoming elections should be free of identity politics, dirty campaigns and money politics.
At a national coordination meeting in Jakarta, Wiranto also called on district and provincial governments to enhance coordination as part of an effort to tackle potential social conflicts across the archipelago.
"Conflict will not happen if we keep ourselves in check … internal conflicts usually arise from identity politics, which we must get rid of because elections should [only] be a contest of competence," Wiranto said.
A hundred prominent public leaders last month raised concern about increasing intolerance and the use of identity politics ahead of the election years of 2018 and 2019.
Furthermore, dirty campaigns and money politics are two factors that could potentially instigate conflicts.
The Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) warned participants of the 2018 simultaneous regional elections and their backers, as well as campaign teams, that they could be disqualified for receiving campaign donations from illegal sources, including from graft cases.
Voters in 17 provinces are heading to the polls for regional elections in June, which will be followed by next year’s legislative and presidential elections.
Concerns over the use of identity politics to divide people along sectarian lines has been a rising concern in the country, as many incidents suggest that running politicians are willing to use such sentiments to pool support from voters.
The Ministry of Home Affairs organized Wednesday’s meeting as part of a national effort to tackle potential social conflicts.
The event was attended by hundreds of officials representing every district and province in Indonesia, and aims to build synergy and coordination among relevant stakeholders to address an issue viewed as having affected all elements of society, and could potentially cause disharmony.
During his speech, Wiranto said that district and provincial leaders must have good coordination and communication, stressing that these aspects are key in preventing social conflicts.
"It’s about awareness. Identity politics thrive on differences … We must elect leaders not because of where they come from, but because of their skills, competence and [leadership] quality," Wiranto said.
In November, Bawaslu published a report showcasing that the 17 provinces going to the polls this year are at medium to high risk for conflict.
Papua, Maluku and West Kalimantan were listed at the top of the risk index.
According to Wiranto, the government is utilizing these surveys to better understand the situation to neutralize factors that may give way to potential conflicts.
"So that there won’t be any conflict during the election itself," Wiranto said.