Security chief threatens golput campaigners with terrorism charges

CNN Indonesia – March 27, 2019
Coordinating Minister for Security Wiranto (CNN)
Coordinating Minister for Security Wiranto (CNN)

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Wiranto says that people who invite others to golput – to abstain from voting – in the 2019 elections will be considered anarchists. According to Wiranto, campaigning for golput is an act which threatens the rights and obligations of others.

“Those who campaign for golput are what’s called anarchists. They threaten the rights and obligations of other people, right”, said Wiranto at the Grand Paragon Hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday March 27.

Wiranto said that those who campaign for golput could potentially be subject to sanctions regulated under the Anti-Terrorism Law.

If the Anti-Terrorism Law cannot be applied, he said, then there is still the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (UU ITE) or the Criminal Code (KUHP) to indict those to campaign for golput.

“If the Terrorism Law can’t be [used] there are still other [laws] than can, there’s the UU ITE, the UU KUHP can [also be used]”, he said.

Stipulations on golput and criminal sanctions are also included in Election Law Number 7/2018. Under Article 510 it states that anyone who intentionally causes another person to lose their right to vote can be punished with a maximum jail term of 2 (two) years jail and a maximum fine of 24,000,000.00 rupiah (twenty-four million rupiah).

Furthermore, Wiranto said that Indonesia is a constitutional state so, he said that those who act in a disorderly fashion will be punished.

“Something that creates disorder, something that creates chaos will certainly [incur] legal sanctions”, said Wiranto.

Wiranto again called on the public not to be fooled by hoaxes which claim that the 2019 elections will result in chaos. Because, he asserted, the security forces will be mobilised to secure this year’s elections.

“There are hoaxes which call on the public not to go to the TPS [polling stations] because it won’t be safe and so on. This is the message that I will continue to convey to the public, come one go to the TPS, it’s safe”, said Wiranto.

Wiranto did not deny that there are still some potential problems that have yet to be overcome. However he said that these will be dealt with in the time remaining before the April 17 elections.

He hopes however that the public will not waste their political rights in the elections.

“We appeal to the public not to golput. Everyone should use their right to vote every five years so that their political rights are not wasted”, he said. (jps)


GolputGolongan Putih, White Group. The term first emerged as a campaign by students in the 1971 elections and derives its name from marking the white section of the ballot paper rather than a party symbol or candidate’s picture thereby making the vote invalid. In recent years the term has broadened to include not just intentionally casting an invalid vote but also vote abstention. Under new electoral laws introduced in 2003, golput, defacing a ballot paper or simply not voting is no longer an electoral offence. Despite recent threats by government figures saying they will prosecute anyone campaigning for golput, according to the electoral law unless money or other enticements are offered, simply campaigning for or encouraging others not to vote is not in fact a criminal offense.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Wiranto Sebut Pengajak Golput Pengacau dan Terancam Dipidana”.]