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Who Owns Regional Elections?

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Second batch of simultaneous regional elections will begin its stages in months. Approximately 101 areas consisted of 7 provinces and 92 regencies/cities will conduct a celebration of democracy in February 2017.

At this time KPU RI is conducting an evaluation and possible improvements to the technical regulations for those areas that will implement elections in 2017. Structuring the elections to be conducted several times into some batches in to simultaneous national elections are planned to be conducted in 2027.

Some of the arguments of the Ministry of Home Affairs related to the need for setting up the time on this simultaneously are to strengthen the position of local government, as well as for efficient cost of election administration. Along with the strengthening of local government formed, then it is expected that the election process has also simultaneously led to a substantive democracy not only stuck in the bustle of a moment which tends to be the embodiment of procedural democracy.

Talking about the substance of democracy, it is still relevant to cite what was stated by Abraham Lincoln that democracy is a government that comes from the people, by the people and for the people. The definition above implies a beautiful dream about the ideal picture of government and becomes the dream of all people. In terms of the substance of the meaning of democracy, the “key” process in a democracy is the active participation and involvement of the people at every stage. The next question that arises is whether simultaneous election held on December 9, 2015 was really the realization of democracy And whether the elections some time ago has become a “property” of the people?

According to Law Number 08 Year 2015 Article 8 (1) that the organization of regional elections (read: Election) becomes a shared responsibility of the KPU, Provincial KPU and regency/city KPU. Based on this condition, then KPU RI as a holder of the ultimate responsibility and the one who has authority to make regulations, makes every effort to embody the substance of democracy in every legal product.

In the context of encouraging community participation, KPU set KPU Regulation No. 5 of 2015 concerning socialization and community participation in the election of Governor and Vice Governor, Regent and Vice Regent, and/or the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Mentioned in the KPU Regulation 5 forms of community participation in elections; involvement in election administration, oversight at every stage of the election, the election socialization, political education for voters, election monitoring, and surveys or polls about the election and the poll results.

Look at the roles set out in KPU Regulation envisaged that opportunities for communities to participate actively in every stage of the selection are wide open. Not only up to the level of regulation, to encourage the active participation of society, especially in the stages of updating the voter list then KPU makes the online portal system named KPU voters” data (sistem data pemilih/sidalih) which can be accessed online at http://data.kpu.go.id. By going through the online portal, people can check directly if they have been registered as voters in the election. In terms of involvement in the administration of elections, KPU opens a space for people to be active in organizing elections, especially in ad hoc bodies ranging from Sub-District Election Committee (PPK), Village/Ward Voting Committee (PPK) and Poll workers (KPPS).

Lack of Participation

Although public participation is wide open, it is not proportional to the facts in reality. Election enthusiasm is only felt in several phases such as during the campaign period and on polling day. Wishes for community to actively involve in each stage of elections as the embodiment of the substance of democracy are still not so visible.

After the Temporary Voters List (DPS) was announced by the PPS to the public on 10 to 19 September 2015, people”s enthusiasm to look at the voters list was still minimal. This is proved by a small input and feedback from the public submitted to PPS in each village. To encourage public participation in conducting scrutiny of voters” data has been done by KPU, one of them via SMS broadcast as done by KPU Bantul. However, this breakthrough has not been able to boost the role of the community to be active in the stages of updating the voter data.

In addition to updating the data in terms of voters, lack of enthusiasm was felt at the time of the formation of ad hoc bodies of election organizers. Formation of PPK at district level and PPS at village level was quite time-consuming. KPU Bantul in shaping PPK and PPS should extend the registration time to meet the quota of candidates in 17 districts and 75 villages in Bantul. Similar things also happened at the time of the formation of KPPS; new norms concerning the limitation of periodization for organizing ad hoc body including KPPS are pretty much affected difficult formation of KPPS. Spirit of regeneration on Election organizers in ad hoc body set forth in PKPU No. 03, 2015 was not responded positively and enthusiastically by the community to register as PPK, PPS, or KPPS.

Looking at some of the facts found in the field during the stages of elections, it is fair to re think again about how elections that we experienced can be a substance of an embodiment of democracy. There are at least two causes of this lack of community involvement in every stage of elections.

First, political apathy in the community. 9 December simultaneous elections were held a year after 2014 legislative and presidential elections, a product of democratic party today can be assessed by the public. It”s the time of political promises of DPR and DPRD members to be fulfilled. Instead of fulfilling promises during the campaign, some members of DPR and DPRD clearly involve in corruption and that is clearly detrimental to the people. Corruption involving unscrupulous representatives, a product of 2014 elections, clearly hurt people as sovereign holders mandated to lawmakers. This has caused political apathy of the people towards regional elections especially in its role in every stage of election.

Second, failed political education. Political education for citizens is substantive to raise political awareness in the community. Political education must be the responsibility of many parties among governments, political parties, electoral organizers, and society themselves. In the context of elections, it must be admitted that political education remains partial to be conducted by parties and is still very limited.

With this background, then it is common when public awareness to actively involve in each stage of elections is still minimal. In the future of course there needs to be a clear scheme of political education for citizens to growing political awareness in each citizen so that citizen involvement in the selection stage can be needs that arise automatically. At the end, this article is a reflection that can be a step stone in facing 2017 simultaneous elections, who owns the regional elections?

DIDIK JOKO NUGROHO, S.ANT
KPU Commissioner Bantul service period 2013-2018

The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the institution.

Translated by SL

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