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Challenges ahead of 2024 Indonesian General Election: Political bribery and misinformation threats

In the lead-up to the 2024 Indonesian General Election, Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD warns of impending ‘diseases’ jeopardizing electoral integrity.

Political bribery emerges as a major concern, aiming to secure victory through support purchase, demanding preemptive action against these challenges.



INDONESIA: The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Polhukam), Mahfud MD, has highlighted several issues that need to be anticipated in the lead-up to the 2024 Indonesian General Election.

Speaking at the Integrated Law Enforcement Discussion Forum (Gakkumdu) in Surabaya, Mahfud likened these problems to ‘diseases’ that could potentially undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

One of the foremost concerns, as pointed out by Mahfud, is the problem of political bribery. He underscored that political bribery tends to surface both before and during elections, with the intention of securing victory through the purchase of support.

“We need to anticipate some ‘diseases’ of the elections right from now. First, the possibility of political bribery, which involves attempts to win the elections through buying support,” Mahfud stated during the event, as quoted from the Kemenko Polhukam YouTube channel, Tuesday (8 Aug).

Mahfud MD, The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Polhukam)

Political bribery

Mahfud further elaborated on the various modes of political bribery, ranging from leveraging officials at the district level to distributing money to voters before they cast their ballots at polling stations.

He remarked, “The purchase of support is often done through officials at the district level, within the General Election Commission (KPU), and there’s a lot.

Political bribery is often facilitated through them, and there are both bulk purchases and individual transactions, commonly referred to as ‘serangan fajar’ (dawn attack).”

He clarified that even down to the regional and polling station levels, officials from the KPU are involved in these practices, asserting that the KPU, along with the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) and the General Election Organizers’ Honorary Council (DKPP), are state institutions within the executive branch, but not led by the president.

“So don’t mistake it, if there are mistakes in previous elections that are contested, it’s not the government that’s sued, it’s the KPU. The government only facilitates,” Mahfud emphasized.

This sentiment echoes a previous acknowledgment by the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU RI) that political bribery remains a challenge in the upcoming 2024 elections.

KPU Commissioner Idham Holik, in a coordination meeting with the Financial Transactions Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) on 19 January 2023, noted that the high cost of political campaigns and the pervasive practice of financial transactions within elections need to be addressed.

Addressing the issue of misinformation, Mahfud highlighted another significant concern. He remarked that the proliferation of hoaxes and fake news on social media platforms can potentially sow discord and polarization within society.

“In the name of democracy, one cannot divide our nation and state. Spreading slander, insults, and so on, all in the name of democracy and human rights,” Mahfud cautioned.

Correlation between elections and corruption

Mahfud’s observations are not without basis. Citing research by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), he pointed out that there is a correlation between the increase in corruption cases and the conduct of presidential and regional elections.

This connection, he argued, explains why political bribery remains a persistent challenge during elections.

“When elections are not held simultaneously, it’s evident that an increase in corruption occurs in regions where regional elections are held. This indicates that elections are often accompanied by attempts to corrupt state finances. The reason for the many arrests is usually before elections.”

As Indonesia prepares for the upcoming 2024 elections, addressing these issues becomes crucial to ensuring the fairness and transparency of the electoral process.

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