As Regards BDF Continuation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Entrusts It to Jokowi Administration

By Alfurkon Setiawan
Date 13 Oktober 2014
Category: News
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As Regards BDF Continuation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Entrusts It to Jokowi Administration

Toward the end of his tenure, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) on Friday morning (10/10) opened Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) VII, in Nusa Dua, Bali. The forum had the theme “Evolving Regional Democratic Architecture: The Challenges of Political Development, Public Participation, and Socio-Economic Progress in the 21st Century”.

Concerning the continuation of BDF in the future, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa entrusts it completely to the new administration led by the president elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

“I don’t want to speculate about the continuation of BDF in the future. That’s completely under the new president’s authority,” Marty Natalegawa said after a session of Bali Media Forum in Bali on Thursday (9/10).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs asserted that his ministry doesn’t want to speculate about the continuation of the forum which was initiated by President SBY seven years ago. However, he mentioned that so far, the forum has attracted great interest from many countries, not only in Asia-Pacific region but also in other regions.

“We cannot predict anything as if with the crystal ball, because we cannot even know for sure what will happen tomorrow. But in fact, BDF has become an important part of the region’s democratic order. Many countries have also benefitted from it,” Marty Natalegawa explained.

Mass Organizations’ Rights

Meanwhile, when asked about the absence of several Jakarta-based mass organizations in Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) VII, Minister Marty Natalegawa stated that his ministry didn’t consider their absence as a serious problem and even considered it as a part of democratic processes.

“I respect their viewpoints. As it is implied in the name of Bali Democracy Forum, every individual, every organization, and every country have the choice whether they will attend it or not,” Marty Natalegawa said.

Several civil society organizations declined to attend and speak in “Bali Civil Society Forum” 2014 which was a part of the series of BDF 2014. Their absence was in response to the approval for the Law concerning Regional Head Election (Pilkada) in the plenary session of the House of Representatives (DPR). The law stipulates that the public will not be involved directly in the regional head elections, as they will have no direct vote in such elections and the elections will be determined by the Regional Houses of Representatives (DPRDs).

In response to the approval for the Law concerning Regional Head Election, President SBY has signed two Government Regulations in Lieu of Law (Perppu) which restore the public’s rights to elect their regional heads directly and abrogate DPRDs’ authority to elect regional heads.

According to Minister Marty Natalegawa, every institution, every organization, and every individual have the rights to express their opinions in various ways, even in their absence. However, in Minister Marty’s opinion, the pros and cons of the Law concerning Regional Head Election were even more relevant to BDF’s theme, and they served as the discussion materials on which BDF participants could share their opinions and views.

Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) VII was attended by the delegations coming from 85 countries, which consisted of BDF member countries coming from Asia-Pacific region and observing countries coming from the outside of Asia-Pacific region, and 8 international organizations.

In the two-day long forum, all the leaders and all the delegations coming from various countries discussed various subthemes, one of which was the one concerning challenges of political development and socio-economic progress, especially in Asia-Pacific countries. In addition, BDF VII also discussed the efforts to encourage public participation in democratic processes. (ANT/ES)

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