Indonesia’s political system rules out ‘absolute power’: Jokowi – 30 Jul 2017

  • President Joko Widodo has dismissed criticism by the opposition including his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that a new election law and a decree banning radical mass organisations would lead to “unchecked power”, saying that Indonesia’s political system rules out “absolute power”.
  • Any party can go through a process in Parliament if they do not agree with any law or regulation, Mr Joko added, stressing that there is an open channel to file any appeal or objection.
  • His remarks followed Dr Yudhoyono’s strong words against the election Bill, which was passed in Parliament last week with the support of Mr Joko’s ruling coalition. The Bill preserves the requirement that parties will need to have at least 20% of the seats in Parliament, or a minimum 25% share of the popular vote, before they can nominate a presidential candidate.
  • Dr Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party and the main opposition Gerindra party want these thresholds scrapped because they believe it would narrow the field for the 2019 race, and may give Mr Joko an unfair advantage. Mr Joko, who had no prior ties to the old political or military elite, became President in 2014 under the same system and the status quo would favour his run for office again, political observers have said.
  • “Power must not go unchecked. That means we have to make sure those that have power do not go beyond the limits, so they do not go into an abuse of power territory,” Dr Yudhoyono has said. “This nation has learnt many lessons that when there was an abuse of power, the people used their rights to correct the government.”
  • Gerindra’s Prabowo Subianto echoed Dr Yudhoyono’s accusation, calling the recently ratified election law a joke. The two men agreed on 27 Jul 17 their parties would cooperate.

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