Sultan remains hereditary governor of Yogjakarta

Little Change on Issue of Governorship in Yogyakarta
Source: Tempo, Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 | 07:19 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Indonesian government and the Yogyakarta palace finally agree that Yogyakarta’s Governor and Deputy Governor will be appointed, and not elected. To seem democratic, it needs to be verified by the Yogyakarta Legislature.

The government and the House of Representatives had agreed that a law being deliberated upon on the special status of the territory of Yogyakarta would provide that its governor and deputy would be appointed – and not elected. This would mean that unlike in other Indonesian provinces, the sultan, colloquially known as the sinuwun, would be appointed governor of Yogyakarta without election.

In essence, little will change in Yogyakarta. The reigning sultan has always been automatically installed as Yogyakarta governor. The deputy governorship has always gone to the reigning head of the Pakualaman princedom in Yogyakarta, who reigns under the title of Pakualam.

This announcement was made after the House’s Commission II held a working committee hearing with the government on Friday a fortnight ago. The meeting approved the crucial Articles stated in the bill on the Special Status of Yogykarta. “The ruling Hamengkubuwono and Pakualam shall be appointed governor and deputy governor respectively,” said the Director General for Interior Ministry’s Regional Autonomy Affairs, Djohermansyah Djohan, to Tempo.

This agreement constitutes a giant stride in the deliberations of the bill however. Over the last nine years, the government, the House and the Keraton have debated over who should be entitled to become the Governor of Yogyakarta. The palace’s Sultan and the Pakualam have always insisted that the reigning sultans must be automatically installed as leaders of the Yogyakarta administration, while the government argued that gubernatorial elections need to be held.

There is indeed the impression that the government has given in. “The government chooses to accommodate all interests,” said Djohermansyah.

The greenlight for the option appeared following a special meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi on June 13 at the State Palace. Despite a brief one, the meeting produced big results. “The President and the Sultan agreed that the law must not fail anymore,” said Djohermansyah who participated in the meeting. “No special deal was made to get this bill passed into law.”

According to Djohermansyah, there are a few other administrative requirements and phases before the two kings are named governor and deputy governor. First, both of them should be at least 30 years of age when appointed. If Hamengkubuwono is not old enough, Pakualam would become acting governor until Hamengkubuwono reaches the required age. This rule applies the
other way around as well.

If the two of them have not yet reached the required age or something happens to them – if both were to die – the [Yogya] government will be run by the regional secretary. The [central] government will temporarily appoint an acting governor until the new sultan is designated.

Other requirements, pursuant to the Regional Government Law, the Governor of the Special District of Yogyakarta, like other regional government heads, should have acquired at least a senior high school education level or its equivalent, should be God-fearing and remain loyal to the state.

These requirements will be verified by the Yogyakarta Council, or the DPRD. The involvement of the DPRD constitutes the wish of the [central] government so that the appointment of the two kings remains democratic. The tenure of office of the governor and his deputy is also five years, as in other regions. The difference is, while in other regions the governor and vice governor will serve not more than two terms, in Yogykarta the tenure is limitless, that is, the appointment will be made or renewed every five years.

Hamengkubuwono and Pakualam will have the status of gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial candidate every five years, and they have to go through the entire process of verification from the very beginning. “This is intended to create a democratic feel to the appointments,” he said.

Arif Wibowo, a member of the Regional Autonomy Commission, said the deliberations during the final working committee’s meeting did take place with no snags whatsoever. However, the draft law will have to go through a few phases of deliberations before being passed. Despite the fact that the deliberations of the mechanisms of who is to become governor remained problem-free, he believes there will be snags during the deliberations of the requirements the governor should meet with. “The [political] parties that have so far been against the appointment will play quite a role in here,” said the politician to Tempo.

The younger brother of Hamengkubuwono X, Gusti Bendoro Pangeran Haryo Hadiwinoto, said the Keraton welcomed the developments in the deliberations of the bill even though caution is still needed because the draft has not yet been passed into law. Today they are already sure of
who will become the next Governor of Yogyakarta. Nevertheless, there is some doubt about the legal status of the palace. “This is important for the authorization of the management of assets,” said Hadi to Tempo.


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