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Indonesia: Vote count amid scrutiny

JAKARTA (ANN/THE JAKARTA POST) – As Indonesia commences the tabulation of votes for its 2024 general election, concerns loom regarding the integrity of election data and an ongoing ethics investigation involving General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Hasyim Asy’ari and other commissioners. 

The process, initiated two weeks after the conclusion of the country’s largest-ever single-day election, prioritises the tallying and verification of overseas votes from 36 foreign election committees (PPLN). 

However, proceedings on Wednesday came to an abrupt halt as Hasyim announced the summoning of all KPU commissioners by the Elections Organisation Ethics Council (DKPP) at 9am, pertaining to allegations of data leaks from the 2024 voter roll.

The complaint, filed with the DKPP by a person identified as Rico Nufiansyah Ali, alleges that unaccountable and unprofessional actions by the KPK led to breaches of personal data stored in the 2024 permanent voter list.

Despite the summons, the DKPP allowed Hasyim to open the Wednesday morning plenary session for the vote tabulation before the commissioners headed to the ethics hearing.

“We have informed the DKPP leadership that we’ll first open the plenary,” Hasyim said at the beginning of the meeting.

That afternoon, Hasyim and other commissioners returned to the KPU office in Central Jakarta to continue the vote counting plenary session. There, they were confronted with a string of questions posed by political party representatives expressing doubt about the commission’s handling of election data.

Poll monitors from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) raised several questions, including how the KPU was planning to handle reports of anomalies in the overseas voting process.

Other complaints from the party included an alleged data discrepancy in the vote count for legislative candidates obtained in the Jakarta II electoral district, covering Central Jakarta, South Jakarta and overseas voters.

More than 1.7 million Indonesians living abroad were registered to vote in the 2024 general election, making up 40 per cent of the total votes in the district.

“We have doubts, but we won’t say negative things just yet,” said poll monitor Al-Munandar of the PDI-P. “But I’ll just say this: the KPU can’t just make things up.”

Trouble abroad 

The overseas voting process has been widely scrutinised by candidates, political parties and observers alike, with reports of irregularities and possible foul play circulating on social media since Indonesians living abroad began voting on February 5, before the February 14 in-country election day.

The voting process in Kuala Lumpur has attracted particular attention after the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) announced on February 14 that it had found indications of administrative violations during the election process.

Among the irregularities found in the Malaysian capital were over 62,000 unregistered mail-in votes with untraceable addresses, damaged ballot papers and alterations to the voter list.

On Monday, KPU chairman Hasyim said the commission had suspended seven Kuala Lumpur PPLN officials and ordered a revote slated for early March.

According to prevailing regulations, a revote may only be carried out within ten days of the first vote.

Hasyim said it would have been impossible for a revote to be held within that time frame in Kuala Lumpur, citing logistical issues. Bawaslu said it would investigate the reasons for the late revote scheduling.

Despite the revote concerns and the delays caused by the DKPP ethics probe, Hasyim and other KPU commissioners said they were determined to complete the overseas vote tabulation process as scheduled.

The KPU finished counting and verifying votes from 21 PPLN on Wednesday, with 30 minutes allocated for each election committee.

The whole tabulation process, including for domestic votes, ends on March 20, when the KPU will officially announce the election results.

General Elections Commission chairman Hasyim Asy’ari shows tabulation results for the 2024 presidential election during a press briefing at the commission’s building in Jakarta on Feb. 27, 2024. PHOTO: ANN/THE JAKARTA POST SOURCE