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Politics - A Topic Best Avoided

Balinese Being told to Tone Down Ogoh ľOgoh Parades in Run Up to 2014 Elections

(1/17/2014) Bali election officials are concerned that traditional ogoh-ogoh parades to be held on March 30, 2014 to celebrate Nyepi Eve will become unduly politicized in the period immediately prior to legislative elections scheduled to take place ten days later on April 9, 2014.

A long-standing tradition in Bali sees villages create massive papier mâché floats that are paraded through the streets on the eve before the official day of silence of Nyepi.

Beritadewata.com quotes the chairman of the Bali Election Commission (KPU-Bali), Dewa Kadek Warsa Rakasandi, who has called on banjars across Bali to avoid adopting political theme of the ogoh-ogoh floats that typically depict monsters, gods, rock stars and public figures in caricature.

Rakasandi admitted to the press that the KPUD-Bali has no authority to regulate or control ogoh-ogoh presentations. Nonetheless, as the agency in charge of ensuring a smooth-running and fair election process in Bali, he hopes the public would not use the religious and cultural moment to score political points.

The KPUD-Bali chief emphasized that his agency clearly has no power to ban ogoh-ogoh parades - a topic recently discussed by the network of traditional villages (Majelis Utama Desa Pakraman), Hinduism Society (Parisada), the government of Bali and law enforcement agencies.

Local official are proposing that ogoh-ogoh parades remain in their home locales without crossing into other communities, that all ogoh-ogoh refrain from using political themes and those involved in the parade process be forbidden to consume alcohol.

If officials are successful in enforcing these rules on March 30, 2014, the Nyepi Parade in 2014 will be substantially different from years past.