Legislative candidates

Kompas Newspaper – May 3, 2023

Women: So they want to struggle for us right, Mr?

Man: It seems so... (sign reads "Legislative candidate registration")

Now that the 18 political parties contesting the legislative elections have submitted their candidates to the General Elections Commission (KPU), it is time for the public to directly and personally examine the candidates. They should not take the political parties’ choices for granted, but get as much information as possible about them, including any dark secrets.

Media reports and research have found that vote buying was rampant in previous elections as candidates fought not only rivals from other parties but fellow party members also. As candidates invest a great deal of money to win seats, they would normally seek returns through all possible means, including corruption. So voting for candidates who engage in vote buying will very likely result in a new batch of corrupt politicians.

The recent arrest of Communications and Information Minister Johnny Plate, who is also the secretary-general of the National Democrat Party (NasDem) and one of the party's legislative candidates, as well as the imprisonment of many politicians from various parties over the last few years, should serve as yet another wake-up call for people to choose carefully in the elections.

Plate is the fifth Cabinet minister during the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to have fallen from grace due to graft. Former sports minister Imam Nahrawi, former social affairs ministers Idrus Marham and Juliari Batubara, and former fisheries minister Edhy Prabowo were all convicted of corruption. They are all politicians from the ruling coalition.

The high number of politicians, both in the national and regional levels, who have been found guilty of corruption should teach voters a supreme lesson. Come February 14, 2024, they must not repeat of the mistake of voting for a candidate simply because of their ethnicity, religion or even physical attractiveness, without digging deeper into their track records.

An estimated 206 million voters will go to the polls next February to simultaneously elect members of the House of Representatives, the Regional Representative Council, provincial legislatures, regency and municipal legislatures, and the president and vice president.

We should not let ourselves fall prey to the tricks of "rotten apple" politicians in the upcoming elections.

[Based on an op-ed piece in the Jakarta Post titled “The public needs to scrutinise political candidates”: https://asianews.network/the-public-needs-to-scrutinise-political-candidates/.]