Discussions for the New Elections Law Bill Were Conducted in a Closed-Meeting, Why’s So Secretive?

The discussion processes for the new Elections Law Bill were conducted in closed and exclusive meetings. Discussions regarding new Elections Law in the past were always accessible for the public. For example, journalists are used to be allowed to cover the discussion process in the meeting room.

“I have been attending discussion on Elections Law Bill since 2005, and the discussions this year has been the most secretive. The meetings are so inaccessible. It’s very hard to collect information on the development of the bill,” says Titi Anggraini, the Executive Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), during a public duscussion “Establishing EMBs with Integrity: Should We Change Regular Officials of KPU in Regencies Into Ad Hoc Officials?” in Jakarta (05/08).

Titi says the members of the Special Committee for the Elections Laws Bill should be able to tell voice from noise. Recommendations and inputs from the public, especially elections activists, are voice not noise. The Special Committee should provide full access for the public to follow the progress and development on the discussion.

“Members of the Special Committee should never think that public participation could hamper the discussion process. We, civil society, want to make sure that our voice is heard,” says Titi.

The General Secretary of the Independent Committee of Elections Observers (KIPP), Kaka Suminta, also criticizes the secretive meetings. “Due to the closed-style meetings, we have no idea what the Elections Law will be,” says Kaka.

The Special Committee should allow public participation in the discussion process. Elections activists, especially independent election observers, have the experience that could be important insights for the Committee. The Elections Law should always be relevant with actual needs and requirements on the field.