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Effort in reinforcing Independence of Electoral Committee

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The obligation of consultation that is binding in the creation of law attracts the Electoral Committee (KPU) to the political interest of the House of Representatives (DPR) and the government. KPU is ready to propose judicial review to the Constitutional Court (MK).

Soon after the second revision of Local Election Law Number 1 Year 2015 officially constitutionalized by the government, KPU firmly stated that they would propose judicial review to the Constitutional Court (MK). The Law that is being claimed is related to the duty and the authority of KPU in Law number 9 (a) is to arrange and determine the KPU”s regulation and technical guidance for every level of election after consulting with the DPR and the government in hearing forum which result is binding.

Intervention

The binding characteristic of the consultation is viewed as the gap for intervention in the making of PKPU, KPU that is also given the predicate as independent and regulator bodies should be free from intervention in creating the main rule for local election as the embodiment of Law (UU) Number 1 Year 2015

Ida Budhiati, a member of KPU, explained that the existence of the word “binding” could destroy the independence of KPU. Hearing opinions from many parties is only natural. However, the decision-making is for the internal of KPU that cannot be intervened by individual importance or any particular group.

“What does the independency of decision-making that the KPU has mean? KPU is not allowed to be affected by pressure, being put under pressure, and cannot be intervened,” said Ida.

The independence of KPU is guaranteed in the constitution, Ida explained that the Law (UUD) explicitly mentioned KPU as a national, permanent, and independent committee. Other committees that are equal to KPU are not required to consult with the DPR and government in regulation making.

Other than that, in the regulation and the presidential system in Indonesia, KPU is given the authority to create regulation under the law. If the regulation is seen as not in accordance with the law, there is a mechanism to test PKPU through judicial review to the Supreme Court.

“If the KPU perseveres and DPR regards it as not correspondence to the Law, there is a judicial review mechanism to MA,” Fadli Ramadhanil, an observer in the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) when contacted (7/6).

Effort in preserving independency

In order to avoid this intervention gap, according to Ida there is no other way for KPU but to propose judicial review to MK so that the binding rule is erased. The reason for this is that because the norm in the law has the potency of giving KPU sanctions of ethics violation by the Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP) if KPU does not follow the result of consultation with DPR and government.

“This is our effort in reinforcing the independence in election,” said Ida.

Didik Supriyanto, election expert, in the book titled Menjaga Independensi Penyelenggara Pemilu (Preserving Independency of Electoral Committee) explained the background of the birth of KPU that is autonomous and independent. After the collapsing of the new order, institution reformation was done and a new, independent committee was formed.

In the system of modern society, political theory or the auxiliary state agency is also known. This theory explains the existence of secondary committee in the government. The power division system of executive, legislative, and judiciary is not sufficient anymore so that the addition of state institutions is needed.

“These new committees also have the purpose of taking care of the process of democratization that is being developed by countries in transition phase,” said Didik.

If viewed from the purpose of the forming of independent committee, Didik stated that KPU was formed as a committee that takes the government”s role so that the role and the function will not be used to benefit particular political parties.

The autonomy and independence of electoral committee also confirmed universally. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral(IDEA) introduces the standard in election so that the election can be called democratic. The committee must be independent and impartial. The electoral committees are not allowed to be steered by any party, whether it”s the authority or political party.

The committee must work without bias or political presumption. This committee must be able to run the program that is free from intervention. The reason is that for every alleged manipulation, bias, or intervention, will have a direct impact. Not only towards the credibility of the committee, but also to the whole process and the result of the election.

Specifically about the electoral committee, international standard for democratic election firmly states the need of legal guarantee that the committee is able to work independently. Independency of the committee is a crucial matter, because the machines of electoral committee run the decision that can affect the result of the election.

Didik assessed, even though the 1945 Constitution, Law Number 22E (5) states that, “Election is held by an Electoral Committee that is national, permanent, and independent,” it seems that there will always be a new interpretation towards the understanding of the requirement, according to social context and political dynamic that is currently developing.

If at the moment the DPR and the government state that autonomous does not mean independent, then in which direction does our political dynamic develop to?

DEBORA BLANDINA/Translated by Andina

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