Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rejects the verdict, president legitimacy is in question?

“Election should be repeated as the consequence of the verdict,” the University of Indonesia professor said arguing the decision to legalize the questioned ballot papers was taken without a plenary meeting.

Nazaruddin stands trial on corruption charges arising out of an insurance scheme for all KPU officials. He is accused of directly appointing PT Asuransi Bumida, instead of putting out the project to competitive tender. He also allegedly received US$45,000 in kickbacks from the insurance company.

He rejects the verdict and would appeal to higher court. “I legalized the invalid ballot papers without plenary meeting because of time constraint. The same applied to the appointment of the insurance company. If judges decided the direct appointment as a wrongdoing, it means the decision to legalize invalid ballot papers would be wrong as well. In that case, we have to repeat the presidential election,” he said.

During the election, there was continuing confusion about KPU’s decision to count ballot papers with two holes punched through them. This happened because voters failed to unfold them completely before using a nail to make a hole through the name of their preferred candidate.

That time KPU didn’t say how many votes had initially been declared valid and then needed to be included in the count. But such invalid punch-through was happened in the first round with five candidates. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Megawati Soekarnoputri secured the top two to contest in the second round. I never heard of such invalid ballot papers in the second round with SBY as the clear winner.

Would the election give completely different result if Megawati failed to pass the first round and SBY have to fight with his former boss general (retired) Wiranto (ranked third in the first round)?

I am not a legal expert. But I do believe Nazaruddin’s decision on invalid ballot papers and insurance coverage should be treated separately. Personally, I missed the second round of election last year, but I believe we’re just too tired to have another election this year or next year.

As for Nazaruddin, even though he might not received kickbacks from the insurance company, such a direct appointment without an open bidding, is an act against the law of fair business competition. In that case, he might have a normal life and give lectures in political science and only pay fines under the competition law.

Born in Bireun, Aceh in November 5, 1944, Nazaruddin graduated from University of Indonesia in 1970. He got master degree and PhD from Australian Monash University.

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