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 Risma Supporters Take to Constitutional Court After Surabaya Election Postponed

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BerichtOnderwerp: Risma Supporters Take to Constitutional Court After Surabaya Election Postponed   wo 5 aug 2015 - 1:34

The Jakarta Globe, Aug 04, 2015

Jakarta. Supporters of Tri Rismaharini, the incumbent mayor of Surabaya, East Java, announced plans to file a motion with the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, seeking a revision to a government law as elections in the city are pushed back to 2017.

The popular mayor is without a challenger even after the General Elections Commission (KPU) extended the deadline for its registration period from last Tuesday to Monday. The country’s Law on Regional Elections prohibits any political race with only one candidate in the running, which means that Indonesia’s second largest city would have to postpone its mayoral election.

Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara and Samarinda, East Kalimantan, are facing similar situations, as are the districts of Blitar and Pacitan in East Java; Tasikmalaya, West Java; and North Central Timor in East Nusa Tenggara.

The seven regions were initially set to join 262 other regions in staging their elections in December, but will now have to wait until the next round of simultaneous elections in 2017.

The KPU said on Monday that it would soon issue a decree formalizing the postponement of the seven elections.

But the decision does not sit well with Risma’s supporters, who insist that the popular mayor should automatically be appointed a second term.

Thirty supporters from Surabaya lodged a judicial review with the Constitutional Court, seeking a revision to six articles in the 2014 Law on Gubernatorial, District Head and Mayoral Elections barring a single candidate election and calling the provisions “unconstitutional.”

“Lone candidates should still be processed [by the KPU] and declared [a winner],” Muhammad Sholeh, a lawyer and one of the plaintiffs challenging the provisions, told the Constitutional Court in his opening remarks.

Sholeh said the law would create an absence of leadership as Risma’s term ends this year.

“This creates legal uncertainty,” he argued.

Risma, who has been voted as one of the world’s best mayors on several occasions, is by far the most popular candidate, with several surveys predicting she will enjoy a landslide victory.

Political observer Toto Sugiarto of think-tank the Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate, however, warned Risma’s supporters to accept the law.

“They should not tinker with the rules and regulations. This nation should learn to respect the laws which they themselves created,” he said. “So what if a region is temporarily governed by an interim leader? That is common in Indonesia.

“This is a warning for political parties that cannot come up with candidates of their own [because] their kaderisasi [leadership building programs] are a mess or perhaps nonexistent.”

The number of elections up for postponement my grow as the KPU is still in the process of verifying documents submitted by some 700 candidates registering for this year’s elections, including their educational credentials.

The election committee has in the past revoked a candidate’s bid after it was discovered he had a fake diploma.

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