September 21, 2023
JAKARTA – Political parties may have to rush their decisions on presidential and vice-presidential nominations after policymakers and the election organizing body agreed to move up the registration deadline to late October from late November.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) secured on Wednesday endorsements from House of Representatives Commission II overseeing home affairs and the Home Ministry to reschedule the registration window for presidential and vice-presidential candidates from Oct. 19 through Nov. 25 to Oct 19-25.
This also cuts the time for candidates to register from five weeks to one.
Initially, the KPU had planned to reschedule the registration window for presidential and vice-presidential candidates to Oct. 10-16, but this proposal was turned down by lawmakers during a closed-door preliminary session among policymakers on Tuesday.
Ever since the KPU planned a date change earlier this month, political parties have been intensifying talks to finalize their electoral alliances and nominations. Alliance building now appears to have crystallized into three electoral blocs but political parties are still struggling to settle on running mates.
House Commission II deputy chairman Saan Mustopa of the NasDem Party said the new, later date was intended to allow more time for parties to decide their nominations, especially in regard to vice-presidential candidates.
“[The decision was] to give all candidates the opportunity to prepare their applications as best as possible. Even though NasDem [along with our electoral partners] has completed ours, there are still others [who may need more time],” Saan said.
NasDem and its partners the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) are grouped together under the Coalition for Change, the only electoral alliance that has named a candidate pair for next year’s election: former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and PKB chairman Muhaimin Iskandar.
The Gerindra Party-led alliance, which supports the presidential bid of Gerindra chairman and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) camp with its presumptive candidate Ganjar Pranowo, have yet to name running mates.
The plan to change the registration date followed the issuance of a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in December 2022 that revised some provisions of the 2017 Elections Law, despite election procedures having begun in mid-June of that year.
The Perppu was originally conceived to allow the government to redraw electoral districts and reallocate legislative seats for four new provinces created in Papua last year. But it also revised some provisions regarding election campaigns, including a delay to the starting date of presidential campaigns, which changes the election timetable set by the KPU, with the exception of the actual voting day.
An estimated 240.8 million voters will be eligible to go to the polls on Feb. 14 of next year to vote for the country’s next president and vice president, as well as lawmakers and councilors at the national and regional levels.
Election watchdogs have urged the KPU to clearly explain to the public the new registration deadline and not to announce the changes too close to the new planned date to avoid confusion.
Following Wednesday’s endorsement, the election body will submit the new regulation to the Law and Human Rights Ministry for promulgation of the new dates.
“Efforts will be made to promulgate this regulation immediately, we are also very much looking to inform Indonesian voters regarding the new dates,” KPU commissioner Idham Kholik said on Tuesday.