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Indonesia election: a time to prioritise anti-corruption in government

When Indonesians go to the polls on 9 July as many as 67 million people could be voting for the first time. That’s more than a third of all eligible voters and they will undoubtedly shape the direction that Indonesia will take.

That’s why it is important to raise awareness in this new generation for fair elections and to make anti-corruption a priority for the new government. There are two candidates, both of whom have said they would follow an anti-corruption agenda.

Transparency International Indonesia released its own an anti-corruption agenda that pushed the candidates to demonstrate their vision of how to tackle one of the biggest problems the nation is facing. It called for the next government to prioritise the long-term anti-corruption commitments in the Anti-Corruption Programme that is part of the National Strategy on Corruption Prevention and Eradication 2012 - 2025 and guarantee that it will be continued and strengthened.

Both candidates have focussed on how they would fight corruption during their presidential debates, addressing issues raised by Transparency International Indonesia’s review.

Youth mobilisation

At the start of 2014 Transparency International Indonesia launched several youth community campaign initiatives to highlight the importance of free and fair elections. It developed a website where voters can check the credentials of candidates, held a youth camp about the election and surveyed young people on their perceptions of integrity.

The website that profiles the presidential and vice-presidential candidates is an important tool to show whether the candidates have any conflicts of interest, who is supporting them and how their campaigns are financed. It also outlines their commitment to anti-corruption.

Transparency International Indonesia has focussed on mobilising the youth to take an active part in election monitoring. Together with eight local civil society organisations, Transparency International Indonesia is urging young people to be part of the election monitoring that will go on across this vast island nation.

Both candidates have an anti-corruption agenda, one more comprehensive than the other. If Joko Widodo wins the election we can foresee a government which understands the importance of transparency and accountability to fight corruption. If Prabowo is elected it will be more challenging for anti-corruption activists as the status quo of political elites become more entrenched.”

– Natalia Soebagjo, Chair, Transparency International Indonesia

Making anti-corruption a priority

The two top candidates for the elections have both made fighting corruption a campaign pledge. In 2013 Indonesia was ranked 114th out of 177 countries. According to our chapter in Indonesia, the sheer amount of incidence of political corruption occurring from 2012 until 2013 was proof of a diluted commitment by the Indonesian government to address conflicts of interest in Parliament and clean up the corruption that has afflicted the judiciary.

The judiciary received a jolt last week when the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced the former chief justice of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court to life in prison for corruption and money laundering.

But more needs to be done. Here are four key recommendations:

  • The Indonesian government must prioritise addressing political corruption and cooperate with the Parliament to correctly manage conflicts of interest. The prevention of transactional politics, which allegedly involve party elites, is also important. The government must also follow through on the long-term anti-corruption plan.
  • Central and regional governments need to produce anti-corruption programmes that move from paper to implementation. This includes monitoring politicians’ asset declarations and criminalising illicit enrichment and the abuse of power.
  • The President and the Parliament must fast-track the Draft Bills on Anti-Corruption, Public Procurement, Confiscation of Criminal Proceeds of Corruption, and the Criminal Code.
  • The President and the Parliament must provide more support to the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) so it can address the major problem areas for corruption, such as public procurement, bureaucracy reform and weak systems supporting ethical conduct in governance and in the Parliament.

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For any press inquiries please contact press@transparency.org

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