The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has given its nod to Hanura Party chairman Oesman Sapta Odang’s candidacy for a seat on the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) in the 2019 election, a move that has sparked criticism from election observers.
Oesman’s election bid, however, places his party chairmanship at stake.
The decision came on Wednesday as the Bawaslu concluded that the General Elections Commission (KPU) had committed an administrative violation and ordered it to approve Oesman’s eligibility as a DPD candidate
Bawaslu head Abhan has ordered the KPU to revoke its decree on the final DPD candidates list for the April election and issue a new decree that included Oesman’s name on the list of candidates.
Abhan stressed that if he won the election, Oesman must resign from his Hanura position at least one day before the KPU announced the list of elected DPD councilors.
“[The Bawaslu] orders the [KPU] to refrain from naming Oesman Sapta as councilor-elect if he has not resigned from his position at the political party within a maximum of one day before the announcement [of the election results],” Abhan said as quoted by kompas.com.
KPU commissioner Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi said on Thursday that the commission leadership had met and decided on its stance to respond to the Bawaslu decision, but that it would wait to receive a copy of the ruling before making a public statement.
The dispute between the KPU and Oesman started in September, when the commission removed the businessman-turned-politician from the provisional list of legislative candidates, as Oesman insisted on retaining his position as Hanura chairman.
In July 2018, the Constitutional Court issued a decision that banned party officials from running as DPD candidates. The KPU then issued a regulation (PKPU) based on the court’s decision, stipulating that party officials must resign from their positions to run in the legislative election.
Election observers have criticized the Bawaslu for its inconsistent ruling that defied the Constitutional Court’s final and binding decision on the matter.
Titi Anggraini, the director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), said that the Bawaslu’s ruling had no legal basis: “The [Constitutional] court’s ruling clearly […] bans party officials from contesting the [DPD] election.”
“The public will become confused and could lose its trust in the election if the election organizers themselves do not adhere to the [court’s decision] in running the election,” she said.