Commission II Approves Decree to Restore Direct Regional Elections


JANUARY 19, 2015

Jakarta. House Commission II for home affairs has approved a presidential regulation in lieu of law that reinstates direct regional elections in Indonesia.

The commission, which oversees political and domestic affairs in the House of Representatives, or DPR, informed government representatives at a meeting on Monday.

The meeting resolved that the emergency executive decree, issued last October by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, should be strengthened.

The regulation still has to be revised, then approved by lawmakers at a House plenary session before becoming legally binding. A revision of the law is scheduled to take place on Feb. 18.

"The most moderate way out is by approving the presidential regulation, but the revision should be finished before the second term ends," Golkar lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo said on Monday.

The presidential decree, or perppu, restored regional elections for governors, mayors and district chiefs by superseding a law enacted by the House that, days prior, scrapped direct regional elections for sub-national executive offices in favor of legislative appointments by regional legislative councils, or DPRDs.

Opposition parties from the Red-White bloc, including representatives from the National Mandate Party (PAN), Golkar and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), supported the law at the commission meeting today. All were instrumental in abolishing direct elections.

National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Sukiman said his party had decided to accept the law and it was now up to the House to approve.

Like other opposition parties, Sukiman said PAN still wanted revisions made.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said the government was open to revisions.

"If the plenary decides to approve it, we'll be open to suggestions to improve the regulation so regional elections can go on well," Tjahjo said before the meeting.