Governor-Appointment Idea Rebuffed by Deputy House Speaker
A senior legislator has rebuffed Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi’s proposal that governors be appointed by provincial legislatures, arguing that leaders chosen in such a way would lack popular legitimacy.
Priyo Budi Santoso, a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said on Friday that it was unreasonable for governors to be selected this way while the president, district heads and mayors were all chosen through direct elections.
“This would be a leadership without life, one that would not enjoy the loyalty of district heads and mayors,” he said.
He acknowledged Gamawan’s argument that a gubernatorial appointment by provincial legislators would be cheaper than holding an election and agreed that it would not be unconstitutional.
However, Priyo said the point was that such a move would be seen as democratic regression back into the way that governors were appointed during the New Order regime.
“What we need to do is arrange the elections so that the costs are not too high and disputes can be minimized,” the Golkar Party politician said.
Abdul Malik Haramain, a member of House Commission II, which oversees domestic affairs, agreed that direct elections were still the best way to pick governors.
“If governors are chosen by provincial legislatures but mayors and district heads are directly elected, then we’re going to have asymmetry in political legitimacy,” he said. “This will be a serious issue in the future, when we’ll see mayors and district heads ignoring the governor. We need to stay consistent and elect governors the same way we do other regional heads.”
Abdul also argued that a governor appointed by a legislature would not be able to maintain checks on regional autonomy policies implemented by municipal and district administrations.
“Right now, mayors and district heads are using the concept of regional autonomy to justify a range of policies, and this is serving to inflate their egos,” he said. “A governor chosen by legislators will have weaker authority than one elected by the people in monitoring and supervising these mayors and district heads.”
The issue of how governors are elected is set to be one of the main points of discussion when House Commission II starts discussing amendments to the Regional Elections Law.
The Home Affairs Ministry is working on a draft of the amended bill, which it is expected to go to the House soon.
Another proposal sure to be debated is one where deputy regional heads are chosen by the winning candidates after the elections.