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In relaxing term limit,Indonesia president rejects end to direct votes,

Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejected on Monday proposals by some politicians and a Muslim group to amend the constitution to end direct elections for the presidency and relax term limits in the world’s third-biggest democracy. 

Widodo, who won a second five-year term in April, his last under current rules, said in a Twitter message his “position was clear in disagreeing with a three-term presidency”.

Separately, he told reporters that discussions on the amendment had referred to plans for an eight-year, one-term presidency or three terms of up to 15 years in total.

Indonesian activists have warned the proposals would mark a setback for democracy, restored after the 1998 overthrow of dictator Suharto, who had ruled for more than 30 years.

Since the return to democracy, the constitution has been amended four times, to separate legislative and executive powers, decentralize the government, directly elect presidents and limit leaders to two terms.

Hendrawan Supratikno, a PDI-P lawmaker, said his party rejects the idea of ending direct election of the president, but is in favour of reinstating the Broad Guidelines.

Last week, Indonesia’s largest mass Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) suggested the idea of having the MPR elect the president, according to its website.

iti Anggraini, executive director of the Association for Elections and Democracy, welcomed Widodo’s rejection, saying the proposals had not been explained properly to the public.

“The president should make sure that these coalition parties are in line with his stance,” Anggraini said. “This could be a solidity test on Widodo’s political attitude.”

Reuters
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