On Monday, 16 March, 2,200 members of 38 political parties gathered at Kemayoran Convention Hall, Jakarta, to begin the open campaign for General Election on 9 April, during which party leaders pledged to conduct campaigns peacefully.
In spite of this fact, the General Election Commission (KPU) has still no clear agenda for the open campaign, therefore causing confusion among the political parties.
According to The Jakarta Post, actually KPU has announced last Friday that four political parties may conduct open campaign on the same day. But due to protest from contestants KPU will revise the schedule. For which purpose it will meet political parties on Wednesday to talk about revision of schedule that will allow each party to conduct two open rallies in every province.
Meanwhile, The Jakarta Globe reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono has warned state officials contesting as candidates in the election not to abuse their power during the campaign period.
Further, Kompas reported that during the gathering on Monday, some political parties have involved children. This is a clear violation of the General Election Law No. 10/2008 Article 84 Paragraph 2 that forbids involvement people, who are ineligible to vote during the campaign. Punishment for violations will be up to 12 months imprisonment and fine of up to Rp 60 million.
Although past experience shows that pledge made by political party leaders did not guarantee a peaceful campaign, especially now that the schedule is still unclear, however, I still have high hopes that this time all the parties concerned would avoid any possibility of conflicts among them.