May 28, 2024

Democracy After Elections and the Challenges of Institutional Reform

It is considered that the results of the 2024 election do not guarantee that democracy in Indonesia will run well and produce an effectively connected national, regional, and local government. This is because the democratic transition in Indonesia was not accompanied by consolidated democratic institutions. According to Senior Researcher at the Political Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Siti Zuhro, this is the impact of constitutional amendments, which result in a political and state system that has no institutional relationship at all.

“All of this has an impact due to the lack of coherence and consistency in institutional reform since 1998,” said Zuhro in an online discussion entitled “The Future of Indonesian Democracy” held by the Insan Cita Professors Forum (10/3).

According to Zuhro, the changing proportional representation system has the effect of not establishing a stable and continuous relationship pattern between constituents and people’s representatives. Changes in the implementation of a closed proportional system in 1999, semi-open in 2004, then open from 2009 until now are seen as having no effect on improving the quality of accountability of members of the People’s Representative Council (DPR). According to him, multiparty politics does not support the presidential democratic system scheme because there are too many short-term interests of political parties to maintain power.

“I propose several improvements.” Among other things, improving the government system—in this case, the presidential democratic system scheme—is necessary if it has become the nation’s final choice, and it is necessary to review the format of the representative system, electoral system, and party system,” he explained.

Zuhro also highlighted improvements in legal politics according to the arrangement of election formats and democratic schemes. This is important to ensure a legal orientation that is just and pivots on the interests of the nation; through this, according to him, a civilized and quality democracy can operate.

“We always forget that democracy will never work without providing a solid foundation for the quality of our laws,” he added.

Meanwhile, researcher Lili Romli from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), after the 2024 general election, believes that the enforcement of democracy in Indonesia will experience serious problems. This view is based on the amount of fraud and the interests of certain parties in the election. In fact, he is not sure whether the results of the 2024 election will uphold or destroy democracy.

This picture, said Romli, although it did not give birth to authoritarianism, created electoral autocracy. According to him, the enforcement of democracy can be channeled briefly through the right to inquiry. Even though this is the absolute right of the party, he hopes that after the announcement of the election results, politics in Indonesia will have a large coalition as an opposition as a balance.

BRIN’s principal researcher, Firman Noor, said the same thing: according to him, the public can be optimistic about Indonesian democracy, but world history will always be turbulent when freedom is still not going well. The world will always look for the best way. He believes that after a decade of Indonesia becoming a democratic country, in the last 10 years there has been a reverse wave of decline.

“After Jokowi won in 2014, our political system became very elitist. Currently, elite countries can be touched and chatted with jokingly, but when it comes to making policy, they still want the elite. “It’s not yet purely authoritarian, but it’s no longer purely democratic,” explained Firman.

In conditions like this, according to Firman, the presence of critical circles from universities is important to educate society on the importance of democracy. In the midst of acute economic inequality and economic independence, democracy will be very easily destroyed. For this reason, according to him, circles that are aware of politics and civil society need to jointly control the next government on a massive scale.

Another problem is that political parties have lost the idealism they fought for. According to him, political parties currently only lust for power and therefore only build their respective political dynasties. Firman views that today’s politicians are only party machines, which then reduce the spirit of statesmanship to the interests of society.

“Because what is happening now is that parties are being bought up by oligarchs and political dynasties, and this is causing the emergence of pragmatism. If the party had strong idealism towards the constitution, it would not have happened, but this could all happen because of the full support that the existing party’s interests want to rule,” concluded Firman. []