More than two millions Indonesian voters abroad

Op-Ed: Jarkata Post

A total of 2,024,066 million registered overseas voters are expected to cast their votes for this year’s legislative election. Worldwide, polling stations will be open for voters abroad between March 30 and April 6, prior to the scheduled national Election Day on April 9.

Data provided by the Foreign Ministry shows that 4.6 million Indonesian citizens live abroad. Malaysia is home to the largest population of Indonesians living abroad, with 1.2 million Indonesian citizens.

Overseas voter turnout was relatively low in the 2009 general election, with only 22.33 percent of 1,475,847 million registered voters having cast their votes during the legislative election and only 32 percent during the presidential election. Problems related to ballot papers and the allocated dates for voting, which happen to fall on working days have been cited as some of the reasons for the low turnout.

Technically, overseas voters are merged with the Jakarta electoral district, which includes Central and South Jakarta.

But they are only eligible to vote for candidates running for seats at the House of Representatives, and are not able to vote for candidates running for the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). In the upcoming election, up to 82 legislative candidates will be competing for seven seats in the second Jakarta electoral district.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court rejected a request filed by dozens of Indonesian citizens living abroad to review the 2012 Legislative Election Law to give them their own electoral district.

— Petrus Kristamtomo