Pictures can be deceiving, and there are undoubtedly scores of people out there who look much better in photos than in real life. But a recent case brought to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (MK) has people wondering – could a digitally enhanced photos win you a seat in the Regional Representatives Council (DPD)?
That’s the accusation facing Evi Apita Maya, a senator-elect from West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), who has been sued in the MK for allegedly making her ballot photos appear much more attractive to voters in April’s legislative election. Specifically, she’s been accused of dishonesty and administrative violations by her defeated rival in the election, DPD member Farouk Muhammad.
“She was dishonest, we suspect DPD candidate number 26, Evi Apita Maya, allegedly made [digital] manipulation or edited her [ballot] photo beyond the reasonable limit,” Farouk’s lawyer, Happy Hayati, told the panel of judges at MK, last week, as reported by Kompas.com.
According to M Khuwailid, who heads the NTB chapter of the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), Farouk has long had an issue with the photo used for Evi’s campaign, which he claimed had been altered excessively to make her seem more attractive.
Evi, meanwhile, is of the opinion that her photos wouldn’t have mattered if she hadn’t won a DPD seat.
“He [Farouk] wasn’t ready to lose … This is just because I won, so they make it an issue, that’s all. If I didn’t win, or if he had won a seat at the Council, it’s like this wouldn’t be an issue,” Evi said.
The final vote count in NTB, which was announced on May 13, put Evi in first place with 283,932 votes, accounting for 11.19 percent of the total votes in the province. She was followed by Achmad Sukisman Azmy, Ibnu Halil and incumbent DPD member Lalu Suhaimi Ismy, who garnered 10.6, 9.68, and 8.17 percent of the provincial votes, respectively.
The incumbent who sued Evi, Farouk, underperformed, garnering only 7.44 percent of the votes.
Evi added that people voted for her because of her long career in politics, which includes positions with NTB’s chapter of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Hanura. In addition, this year’s election was also not her first candidacy.
Evi also claimed that some people are trying to make the comparison between her ballot photo and her real face seem worse by sharing a really old photo of hers next to the more recent campaign photo.
“They zoomed in so closely [on the old photo], so they’re trying to make me appear as ugly as possible,” she said.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) in NTB rebutted Farouk’s argument at the MK by explaining that they had already determined prior to the election that the photos used by candidates did not violate existing regulations. They also rejected Farouk’s accusation that Evi is involved in money politics, on the basis that Bawaslu has never received a report regarding the matter.Artikel Asli