The government and the House of Representatives have finally agreed that a law being deliberated on the special status of the territory of Yogyakarta will provide that its governor and deputy will not be elected but appointed, a lawmaker said on Thursday.
The matter has long been debated at the House, with proponents arguing that the direct appointment of governors and deputy governors was an acknowledgment of the special nature of the region, while opponents said the scheme was only to honor Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, who fought alongside the republic during the independence struggle.
The announcement means little will change in terms of the region’s governance: The reigning sultan of Yogyakarta has always automatically been installed as governor of Yogyakarta, which holds the rank of a province. The deputy governorship has always gone to the reigning head of the Pakualaman princedom in Yogyakarta, usually reigning under the title of Pakualam.
“The appointment is now no longer a problem. It is because of the special status [of the province] that the reigning Sultan Hamengkubuwono and the Pakualam prince rule and there will be no elections,” Agun Gunanjar, the chairman of House Commission II overseeing home affairs, said after a meeting with the director general for regional autonomy on Thursday.
He said that because of time constraints, the Law on the Special Status of Yogyakarta would not be passed during the current legislative session, but he added that there were no longer any obstacles related to the bill’s substance.
Only administrative issues were left to deal with, which would require at least 35 days, he added.
However, he said that although the sultan and the head of the Pakualam are appointed and not elected, they must also meet administrative requirements.
“This is progressive and the requirements for becoming a governor are the same as for the other provinces,” he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Djohermansyah Djohan, the director general for regional autonomy, told the hearing that only the reigning heads of the two royal houses in Yogyakarta could sit in the province’s top two posts.
“No one else can become candidates, even those [of] Hamengkubuwono and Pakualam [lineage] who are not reigning cannot,” he said.
Djohermansyah said that it would be the Yogyakarta provincial legislative council that will recommend which requirements from the law on regional governments should be included in the law on the special status of Yogyakarta.