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Indonesia Elections 2024: More celebrities are vying to be Members of Parliament. What’s the driving force?

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  • February 12, 2024

Mr Hadar Nafis Gumay, executive director of non-for-profit organisation Network for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NETGRIT) echoed the sentiment.

“Parties must disclose to the public how and why a particular candidate is nominated because the nomination process for parliamentary candidates is not done at a party convention for everyone to see,” he told CNA.

Mr Willy Aditya, the executive chairman of the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) said that all of its candidates have gone through a rigorous vetting process.

“The public figures whom we nominate are those who have been in the party for a long time and slowly made their way up from the bottom,” he told CNA.

Among the parliamentary candidates nominated by Nasdem are singer Anisa Bahar and television host Choky Sitohang. The former is running for the first time while the latter failed to secure enough votes in 2019 and is running for the second time.

Meanwhile, National Mandate Party (PAN) executive chairwoman, Mdm Zita Anjani said her party is treating all of its cadres equally and defended its celebrity nominees.

“PAN is opening its doors to everyone. Our MPs are quality MPs including the celebrities. That’s why our celebrity MPs get re-elected time and time again,” she said in an interview with online portal Rakyat Merdeka on Jan 18. 

PAN is home to several celebrity MPs who are now running for re-election including comedian Eko Patrio, soap opera actor Primus Yustisio and movie star Desy Ratnasari.

RECOGNITION NOT A GUARANTEE FOR VOTES

But fame alone does not necessarily mean a candidate will secure enough votes and get elected into office.

In 2019, only 14 actors, comedians and musicians secured a seat in parliament. 

Among those who failed were some of the biggest names in the Indonesian entertainment industry like Katon Bagaskara, the frontman of Indonesia’s legendary band Kla Project; Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo of another legendary band Dewa; and veteran comedian Dedi “Miing” Gumelar.

“Sometimes these celebrities are nominated just to draw more attention to their respective political parties so that the parties will get enough votes to qualify for a seat in parliament,” Mdm Khoirunnisa of Perludem said. 
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