The Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) has issued their verdict on ten lawsuits regarding the result of political party registration process for the 2019 National Elections. Bawaslu have granted nine lawsuits and rejected one submitted by the Indonesia Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) led by Haris Sudarsono.
Bawaslu also specify three main reasons on why they decided that the Elections Commission (KPU) have committed administrative violations in conducting elections registration to the nine applicants of the lawsuits. Firstly, it is related to the decision made by KPU to make registration through the Political Party Information System (Sipol) mandatory to political parties. Secondly, KPU issued their decree in the middle of the registration period. Thirdly, it is related to the announcement letter of the registration result issued by KPU on October 20th 2017.
Making Sipol Mandatory Is Not in Accordance with the Elections Law
Bawaslu have shown their disagreement on the idea to make the use of Sipol mandatory in elections registration process even before the judiciary process for registration disputes began, and now they have turned their disagreement into an official decree. Bawaslu maintain their initial argument. First, the use of Sipol for political party registration is contradictory with the provisions contained in KPU Regulations (PKPU) No.11/2017, especially in Article 1 and Article 13. Second, The provision in Article 13 is contradictory with Article 176 paragraph (2) of Elections Law (Law No.7/2017). Third, the provision of using Sipol in registration process is not a regulation directly derived from the Elections Law, therefore it cannot be used to determine whether a political party is qualified or not to participate in election.
Bawaslu found another reason to reject the use of Sipol after they found out, during the hearing session, the mandatory use of Sipol for election registration has violated the political rights of many political party members who wish to participate in the upcoming elections. There are many technical errors: the main servers are often down and inaccessible, and some users also report missing uploaded data. The period for uploading data to the Sipol servers is too short, while political party members in remote areas complain that they do not have proper internet access to use Sipol.
These complains were corroborated by the expert witness invited by Bawaslu to provide educated opinion on the matter. The expert, Hasyim Gautama, a Delft University graduate, explains that Sipol would not have those problems if the engineers use Java programming language instead of PHP. PHP does not provide any confirmation to certify that any uploaded data has been saved on the target database. Also, says Hasyim, the fact that the main servers of Sipol are often down for more than two ours in fourteen days of registration period shows how the system is highly vulnerable and cannot be relied upon for electoral registration process.
Bawaslu seem to consider Hasyim’s explanation in high regard since they used it as the dominant argument in making the final verdict in the hearing session.
Bawaslu also used explanation provided by other expert witness, Riawan Tjandra, a lecturer on state administrative law from the University of Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, to formulate their final verdicts. During the hearing session, Riawan said, the provisions contained in Article 13 of PKPU No.11/2017 have violated the constitutional right of political party members to participate in electoral process.
In addition, Bawaslu also questioned KPU’s decision to alter their policy on Sipol near the end of the registration period. This alteration rendered legal uncertainty and unfair treatment to some political party members who conduct the registration at the end of the period.
As the result, Bawaslu demand KPU to revise their registration procedure to conform with the regulations contained in Article 176 and 177 of the Elections Law.
KPU Is Not Allowed to Issue New Provision During the Registration Period
Bawaslu use Article 176 and Article 178 as the legal basis to make the judgment that KPU have committed administrative violation by issuing registration decree during the sub-stage of registration period. According to the effective laws and regulations, KPU is only allowed to issue the decree after they verify the validity of the documents uploaded by registrants.
“During the sub-stage of registration period, KPU is not allowed to issue any decree during the registration period until the verification of registrant documents have been conducted. Therefore, according to Article 176 of Law No.7/2017, KPU have committed administrative violation in issuing the decree regarding the registration validity of Indonesia Justice and Unity Party (PKPI),” as quoted from Bawaslu Verdict No.001.
Faulty Rejection Letter
According to Bawaslu, the rejection letter issued by KPU to inform registrant political party that their registration application and documents are incomplete and invalid is not in accordance with the proper registration procedure. Bawaslu used this argument from the explanation given by an expert witness from the Moon and Star Party, Andi Muhammad Asrun and Riawan Tjandra.
Andi explained, the rejection letter should have issued by KPU after they have successfully conducted administrative verification on the documents submitted by political party. The fact that KPU relied solely on Sipol to assess the validity of those documents shows that the verification procedure was faulty.
“The rejection letter can only be issued after administrative verification,” Andi said.
In addition, Andi also explained, KPU should have talked to concerned political party before making any judgment on the validity of political party’s application. Political party officials have the right to tell their side of the story.
Riawan confirmed Andy’s explanation by saying that, according to legal protection principle, KPU should have asked concerned political party for confirmation.
Sipol Is Still Needed
Bawaslu, however, do not deny the fact that Sipol is needed for a better political party data management. However, Bawaslu also stated that Sipol cannot be used as the ultimate factor in determining the eligibility of political party in participating in elections. Therefore, Bawaslu demanded political party who submitted the lawsuits to immediately uploaded all the necessary data and documents for registration.