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Mystery of KPU’s Anniversary

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Anniversary for an institution is not only commemorated with a ceremony and ceremonial activities, but it is also useful to strengthen more the unity and kinship among individuals in the organization of the institution. Therefore, in order to celebrate the anniversary of an institution, a match or race or other events, such as family gathering and outbound, is usually held.

When I, the author, worked in the General Election Commission (KPU), when discussing KPU Regulation on Protocol, it turned out that KPU”s anniversary was not yet known. Whereas KPU”s anniversary  is one of days  commemorated and regulated in terms of its protocol ordinances.

To know the exact date chosen to be KPU”s anniversary certainly can not be separated from the history of elections and the formation of election management bodies since the implementation of the first election in 1955. The history of the formation of election management bodies had been started in 1946, about three months after independence was proclaimed by Sukarno and Hatta on August 17th, 1945.

It was as contained in X Notice or Notice of Vice President, Mohammad Hatta, on November 3rd, 1945. It contained the recommendation on the establishment of political parties. The Notice said that the election to elect members of DPR and MPR would be held in January 1946.

Unfortunately, the election was not held because the new government drew up the electoral law and because of the unstable security condition of the country due to internal conflict among the political power at that time along with the persistence of the threat of a security breach from outside. Though still in a situation to repel invaders, the Indonesian government still had the political will to hold election with the establishment of the Law No.27/ 1948 on General Elections as amended by Law No.12/ 1949 on General Election, although the election that would be done was terraced or indirect election. [1]

After the Independence Revolution subsided, based on Law No.7/ 1953 on the Election of Constituent Members and Members of the House of Representatives validated on 4th of April 1953, the Indonesian Election Committee (PPI) was formed to prepare, lead, and held general election in 1955. The election was to elect the Constituent members and members of the House of Representatives. On November 7th, 1953, the President Soekarno signed a Presidential Decree No. 188/1953 regarding the appointment of the Indonesian Election Committee (PPI).

The implementation of 1955 election was divided into two stages, namely: (1) election to elect the members of the House of Representatives, which was held on September 29th, 1955 and attended by 29 political parties and individuals, and (2) election to elect the Constituent members, which was held on December 15th, 1955.

The members of PPI were then dismissed with honor by the President on January 24th, 1958. The tenure of the membership of PPI under the Act was actually only four years. PPI here was meant not to include election monitoring agencies.

To deal with the second election which was planned in 1959, the Cabinet of Ali Sastroamidjojo II announced the names of eleven members of PPI, in which they were mostly members of PPI in the previous period. However, the second election agenda was ignored after President Soekarno issued a Presidential Decree on July 5th, 1959 which marked the re-enactment of the 1945 Constitution and Indonesia began to enter a period of Guided Democracy. [2]

When General Suharto was appointed by MPRS to be President official replacing Soekarno in MPRS Special Session in 1967, he also did not immediately hold an election to seek the legitimacy of power transition. In fact, 1966 MPRS XI Provision mandated that the General Election could be held in 1968.

The provision was then amended again in the Special Session of MPR in 1967. General Soeharto established that the general election would be held in 1971. The 1971 election was held on July 5th, 1971, four years after Soeharto”s presidency. [3] Based on Law No.15/ 1969 on the general election of the Consultative/ Representative members passed on December 17th, 1969, the General Election Institute (LPU) was formed and chaired by the Minister of Internal Affairs to hold elections from the 1971 elections to 1977 elections.

The first election after the end of the New Order regime was held on June 7th, 1999 under Law No.3/ 1999 on General Election. The party responsible for the election was president. The election organizer was the General Election Commission (KPU) that was free and independent. KPU”s membership composition was dominated by people from political parties. From 53 members of KPU at the time, 48 were people from parties and five were government representatives.

Before KPU was formed, the preparation of election implementation was conducted by LPU (Article 79 of Law No.3/ 1999). Chairman of LPU formed Team 11 to assist LPU especially in the verification of political parties participating in the election. The first KPU in the reform era was created by Presidential Decree No.16/ 1999 on February 19th, 1999 and all 53 KPU members were appointed by President BJ Habibie on March 10th, 1999. [4]

Indonesia could truly be said to apply independent election management after the issuance of Law No.4/ 2000 on Amendment to Law No.3/ 1999 on General Election. In the new legislation, it was stated firmly that KPU is independent, nonpartisan, and no longer consists of people from parties. This independence was then reinforced through a constitutional amendment, which was in the third amendment of the 1945 Constitution Article 22E paragraph (5. It was formulated that the General Election is organized by a general election commission which is national, permanent, and independent.

To carry out the constitutional mandate, to welcome the implementation of election in 2004, Law No.12/ 2003 on General Election of DPR, DPD, and DPRD members was issued, in which some articles regulated the election organizers. KPU consists of independent KPU members, supported by the secretariat of the Civil Servants from the Central Government and Local Government. KPU 2001-2006 was established by Presidential Decree No. 70/2001 dated June 5th, 2001 and sworn in by President Abdurrahman Wahid with 11 members, consisting of elements of academic and NGOs.

There were interesting things regarding the establishment and inauguration of KPU from 2001 to 2006. On the website of several regional KPUs, it was written that KPU formation was based on Presidential Decree No.10/ 2001. Those KPUs from North Sumatra Province [5], Rembang Regency [6], Kepahiang Regency [7], PPLN [8], and Ponorogo Regency [9].

However, after being checked, the Presidential Decree No.10/ 2001 on January 17th, 2001 is on the Implementation of Regional Autonomy at Land Affairs. There was irregularity on the inauguration date of KPU member in 2001-2006 ie 11th of April 2001, while Presidential Decree No.70/2001 on the Establishment of the General Election Commission was dated on June 5th, 2001. Central Sulawesi Provincial Election Commission website [10] lists the Presidential Decree No.70/2001 as the legal basis for formation of KPU. The difference in the date of KPU establishment is also found in the writing of KPU commissioner (2012-2017), Ida Budhiati [11], in which the establishment of KPU (2001-2006) was 24th of April, 2001. Meanwhile, the West Sumatra Provincial Election Commission website [12] states that the second KPU (2001-2007) was established by Presidential Decree No.10/ P/ 2001, which contained 11 members who represented the academic and NGO elements and was sworn in by President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) on 11th of April 2001.

The members of 2007-2012 Period  were established by Presidential Decree No. 101/ P/ 2007, consisting of seven members coming from the members of Provincial Election Commission, academics, researchers, and bureaucrats and being sworn on October 23rd, 2007. KPU from 2012 to 2017 was established by Presidential Decree No.34/ P/ 2012, which comprised seven members coming from the members of the Provincial Election Commission, academics, and NGOs and being sworn in on April 12th, 2012. [13]

From the history of the establishment of KPU above, it is found that some historical dates can be selected to be the anniversary date of KPU, namely:

April 4th, 1953: the establishment of the Indonesian Election Committee (PPI)

November 7th, 1953: the appointment of PPI

September 29th, 1955: the general election of DPR members

December 17th, 1969: the establishment of LPU

February 19th, 1999: the establishment of post-Reform KPU

March 10th, 1999: the inauguration of KPU members (Political Party Representatives)

June 5th, 2001: the establishment of an independent General Election Commission based on Presidential Decree No.70/2001.

According to the author, the most suitable date for the anniversary of KPU is June 5th. This is the date of the establishment of an independent KPU based on Presidential Decree No.70/2001. Moreover, this date is relatively easy to remember. But, aside from the dates mentioned above, it is certainly open to select the other dates as the date for KPU”s anniversary. []

CATHERINE NATALIA

Technical personnel in Section of Trial and Public Bureau Protocol of the General Election Commission of Indonesia (2009-2015)

Translated by Ani


[1] http://www.kpu.go.id/index.php/pages/index/MzQz

[2] Penyelenggara Pemilu 1955: Berlaku Jujur dan Sederhana, www.rumahpemilu.org

[3] http://www.kpu.go.id/index.php/pages/detail/2016/9/PEMILU-1971/MzQz.

[4] International IDEA, Electoral Management During Transition: Challenges and Opportunities, Stockholm, 2012, hal. 22.

[5] http://kpud-sumutprov.go.id/wp/?page_id=406

[6] http://kpud-rembangkab.go.id/profil

[7] http://www.kpu-kepahiangkab.go.id/about/tentang-kpu

[8] http://202.148.132.171/ppln/overview.htm

[9] http://www.kpu-ponorogokab.go.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=27

[10] http://kpu-sultengprov.go.id/arsip/5

[11] https://idabudhiati.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/konstitusionalitas-kpu/

[12] http://ppid.kpu.go.id/?idkpu=1300&idmenu=infosetiapsaat&action=view&idgrp=88

[13] http://kpu.go.id/dmdocuments/Suara%20KPU%20April%202012%20Upload.pdf

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