Jakarta. Next year's regional elections could cost the government as much as Rp 11.3 trillion ($851 million), the General Election Commission, or KPU, told the House of Representatives on Tuesday (25/04).
Among the provinces set to host gubernatorial elections next year are West Java, Central Java, East Java and North Sumatra, the four most populous regions in the country, with a combined population of 110 million.
Papua, where ballots are transported either by air or on the ground through thick tropical rainforests, will also conduct its gubernatorial election next year.
In total, 17 provinces, encompassing 115 districts and 39 cities, will host regional elections in 2018.
"The regions set to host elections next year have very large populations, therefor it will cost significantly more to conduct [the poll] compared to elections in other regions," KPU chairman Arief Budiman said.
In comparison, this year's general elections – which saw April's highly divisive gubernatorial race in Jakarta and another close contest in Banten – cost just around Rp 4.2 trillion.
Regional governments are responsible for bearing all expenses incurred in local elections.
"We added up estimated election expenses from the regional KPUs and calculated the total cost to be Rp 11.3 trillion. In reality, total costs might be smaller," Arief said.
Indonesia implemented a degree of regional autonomy after the country ousted President Suharto in 1998, allowing citizens to elect their mayors, district heads and governors directly.
However, the country only started conducting simultaneous elections in 2015, as a way to streamline election commissions' and political parties' resources in regional contests and reduce overhead costs.