Election budget transparency is a crucial key to ensuring an election with integrity. This is significant because the budget for organizing the 2024 Elections amounts to IDR 70.5 trillion, and the substantial funds should ideally be more transparent and accountable in every electoral process.
“The value is three times higher than the 2019 Elections, even though simultaneous elections were carried out for the purpose of efficiency and cost savings,” said Agung Sedayu, from the National Council of the Indonesian Forum for Transparency (Forum Indonesia untuk Transparansi or FITRA), during the “Budget Literacy Forum 2.0” discussion at the Universitas Pembangunan Nasional Veteran [National Development University Veteran] Jakarta on December 16th.
Agung expressed regret that, although transparency can minimize violations during elections, so far, election organizers and political parties have been less open about their budgets. This is evidenced by findings from the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), which reported illegal campaign fund transactions amounting to trillions.
“The peculiar budget related to campaign parties has now increased by 100 percent compared to 5 years ago. This has happened because political parties have become an untouched part,” he stated.
According to Khoirunnisa Agustyati, the Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), this happens because political parties are not designed to emerge from the grassroots. In her view, from the beginning of the party formation process, it has been highly centralized with strict requirements and high costs.
“Our politics indeed isn’t encouraged to emerge from the grassroots due to its very high costs,” explained Khoirunnisa.
Additionally, Khoirunnisa stated that overseeing each stage of the electoral process is crucial because elections are an integral part of democracy. This is to prevent any setbacks in the electoral system arising from the election organizers. She emphasized the importance of this, citing a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2023, which still classified Indonesia’s democracy index as flawed democracy.
“Of the four indicators of the democracy index, elections typically support the other indicators. Therefore, there is a need for more civil society groups that are more critical to oversee elections, especially concerning the budget,” she remarked.
Translated by Catherine Natalia