Corrupt candidates

Kompas Newspaper – August 23, 2023

Woman: Lest we choose the wrong legislative candidate Mr...

Chair reads “2024 elections”, papers on candidates backs reads “Once corrupt, but I’ve mended my ways”, “Scan me”.

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has found that at least 39 former graft convicts are on the General Elections Commission (KPU) provisional list of legislative candidates (caleg), which was released earlier this month.

Some political parties reportedly nominated the figures for their electoral prospects, saying they remained very popular despite their tainted records.

The candidates were able to be nominated thanks to two regulations issued by the KPU in April this year that allowed convicts whose right to run for public office had been temporarily stripped by the courts to register as candidates once their political rights had been reinstated.

They were not required to wait five years after their release from prison before signing up as legislative candidates as had previously been the case.

The KPU issued the two regulations despite the fact that the provisions contradict the 2017 Elections Law and two Constitutional Court rulings in 2022 and 2023, all of which stipulated that the five-year waiting period was applicable to all convicts without exception.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said that the corruption convicts nominated were running both as members of the House of Representatives (DPR) as well as the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

Ramadhana added that the ICW's findings are limited to a cluster of candidates running for the DPR and DPD. He warned that there could well be more former corruption convicts that are in the process of nominating themselves as Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) members at the provincial, regency and municipal level.

"ICW is again urging the General Elections Commission to immediately announce to the public the legal status of these potential caleg", Ramadhana said.