Democracy Inc.

Those carrying the desires and wishes of the people of Bali to central and local parliaments would do well to be constantly mindful of the people who voted them into office, but signs are that it’s money politics as usual, with scant regard for the development of this island, or its people.

Throughout the raucous and visually despoiling campaign period, we heard many accounts of candidates for local and central parliaments doling out incentives to voters ranging from clothing to food to cash –Rp100,000 per voter in an envelope from one candidate.

This shocking abusive of Indonesia’s developing democracy does not auger well for change at leadership levels, particularly killing off the decades of entrenched corruption that have destroyed the nation.

Media in Jakarta earlier this week were reporting similar vote-grabbing tactics by candidates, some of them high-profile individuals in the limelight who should have known their illegal vote-persuading strategy would be revealed. But in a culture of corruption, do they really care?

Corruption and grinding poverty are a potent mix. Whereas in wealthier countries, population would spurn as laughable gift-giving by political candidates in exchange for votes – and swiftly report them to the authorities – in Bali and wider Indonesia, such obtuse moves are deliriously accepted by a people who have little enough to live on as it is.

Until more entrenched efforts are made at improving the welfare of the people – a cycle of delusion, given the electioneering farce – the voice of the people will never truly be heard.

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