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A Symbolic Fight

Dispute Over Use of Party Logo on Ballot Threatens to Delay May 15 Governors Election in Bali

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, PDIP, Governor election, Ballot dispute, Made Mangku Pastika, Ketut Sukerta, A.A. Puspayaoga, Dewa Sukrawan, KPU, Election Commission
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A dispute has broken out in the period of the leading up to election of Bali’s next governor on May 15, 2013 with the incumbent candidate for governor, Made Mangku Pastika, and his running mate Ketut Sudikerta crying “foul” in how their opponents are presented on the final election ballot.

While elections rules clearly stipulate only the name, images and the contesting candidates’ respective party numbers can be shown on the ballot, the party symbol of the People’s Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) has somehow found its way onto the ballot and resulting in a dispute that could potentially delay the May elections.

With Pastika-Sudikerta calling for the printing of new ballots, their opponents A.A.Puspayaoga – Dewa Sukrawan see nothing wrong with the ballots as prepared, saying they will legally oppose any effort to reprint the ballots before Election Day on May 15th.

Defending the ballots as printed, Puspayoga and Sukrawan take pains to point out the ballot was formally approved by both contesting parties, with the polemic over their final format only appearing when some members of the public found fault with the PDIP logo’s presence.

Raising the stakes further, PDIP says the appearance of their party's  logo – the dominant party in Bali – is a matter of fundamental importance prompting vows from party cadres to fight to the death for its retention on the ballot.

Such threats are made while Pastika-Sudikerta are calling for new ballots, citing Election Law No. 66 of 2009 that clearly says only the candidates name, party number and candidates photos may appear on the final ballot.

The problematic ballots, which have already been printed and sent to the various  regencies for folding, have cost an estimated Rp. 900 million (US$90,000) that would have to be spent again if new ballots must be printed.

To resolve the matter the Bali Elections Commission (KPU-Bali) plans to seek guidance form the national KPU.

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