Ardy Abba
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Editorial, Vox NTT- April 17, 2019 is the schedule for collecting and counting votes simultaneously in the presidential and legislative elections throughout Indonesia.

This schedule decision has been approved by the General Election Commission (KPU). The 2019 election schedule has been centralized. However, this decision certainly does not apply smoothly to several regions in Indonesia.

It could be that the monolithic decision maker did not use a local contextual approach in each region in Indonesia. Later there was a shout of rejection because it collided with religious rites that were very important for Christians.

In NTT Province, for example,  Association of Katholic Student of Republic  Indonesia (PMKRI)  Kupang expressly rejected the 2019 simultaneous election schedule. The Catholic student organization reasoned, that on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 coincided with the religious rites of Christians in East Flores Regency. It’s name is Rabu Trewa (shackle) in the Semana Santa procession (holy week).

The Semana Santa tradition has been going on for more than five centuries, since the Portuguese nation spread Catholicism and traded sandalwood in the Nusa Tenggara Islands.

Usually, on this day of bondage thousands of Christians in the eastern tip of Flores Island gather in the chapels. They pray in memory of Judas Iscariot’s adulation of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Semana Santa has become a tourist attraction in East Flores. During the procession of religious traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation, thousands of visitors from various regions and even the world came to witness its uniqueness.

The 2019 simultaneous electoral schedule will likely confine and paralyze the religious rites of Rabu Trewa. Centralistic political decisions will certainly be a crucial problem for Christians in East Flores and even Indonesia.

This situation makes the Christian people in a dilemma position. Would they prefer to come to the polling station or join in praying in the chapels of the religious rites on Rabu Trewa?

It is sad that this schedule is set. Decision makers forget that Indonesia can stand firm because of the strength of the pieces of culture, religion, ethnicity and others in the region. Restrictions on religious social rights are included in regulations made by the government. In fact, religion and the State in the context of Indonesia have been united.

Religion and the State have been realized from the beginning by the founders of Indonesia. The proof is that they put the first precepts of Pancasila, namely “God Almighty”. The state must respect religion in the perspective of Indonesia’s spiritual diversity.
Religion by carrying out important rites in it is a source of morality and clues to the truth for its followers. This moral source certainly contributes to peace and peace for Indonesia.

Religious beliefs have been recognized as one of the moral fences to avoid various crimes so that life is always peaceful and peaceful, both physically and mentally.

If  this religious rite is so important, what about the choice of coming to the voting place?

Is not voting is the most honest way to determine the leader, who is believed to bring this nation towards the better five years?

Present voting is also considered important to determine the fate of this nation, the fate of the people, and our own destiny.

Christians in East Flores also realize that elections are the most ideal mechanism in determining leaders for now. They also realize that democracy is the best system for conducting leader circulation.

From these various narratives, there are two important things as a reflection. First, religion with all important rites in it is an inner struggle that directs one’s beliefs. Second, choosing  a leader  is also the result of the inner struggle of the citizens. They chose to depart from the reflection of their  conscience.

So, both of them talk about the person’s inner which of course cannot make a choice between the two. Because, both are considered important in life.


From the case in East Flores, one of the offers was that the KPU had to make a follow-up election. The postponement of this election must be believed due to coersive circumtances. It was only because the Rabu Trewa  rite coincided with the simultaneous election schedule.

Moreover, the Election Law No. 8 of 2012, Articles 230 and 231, continued elections and subsequent elections are allowed.

So, based on these rules, the KPU must determine that East Flores region must carry out a subsequent election.

Author: Ardy Abba
Editor: Rini Kartini/Hos