February 23, 2024

Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati: Three Crucial Issues in the New Elections Law Are Decided Based on Short-Term Interests

Members of the Parliament and the government finally agreed on the content of the new Elections Law Bill on predawn Friday (07/21) and they will immediately pass the Bill.

Activists from the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) argue that the would-be Laws is completed without providing any significant improvement. All the regulations that have been agreed upon by members of the Parliament and the government are based on political short-term interests. The agreed Bill will most likely be sued at the Constitutional Court and this will render further uncertainty on the schedule of the upcoming 2019 National Elections.

An activist of Perludem, Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati expresses her concern to Rumah Pemilu (07/23):

What is your opinion on the new Elections Law Bill that has just been agreed upon by members of the Parliament and the government?

As we all know, both members of the Parliament and the government concentrated all of the relevant issues in the Bill into five policies-package (package A, B, C, D, and E). Unfortunately, both members of the Parliament and the government chose package A, which is filled with political short-term interests.

What are those interests?

First, the interest regarding the presidential threshold. Members of the Parliament and the government agreed to set the threshold at 20 percent of current parliamentary seats or 25 percent of votes acquisition from the previous legislative election. This decision is clearly made to secure the upper hand of the current government in the upcoming election.

Is that all?

There is also an issue with the increase of parliamentary threshold from 3.5 percent to 4 percent, and the fact that both parliament members and government chose to maintain the current electoral magnitude at 3-10 seats per electoral area. In the 2014 legislative election, the 3.5 percent threshold had already caused a great political disproportion and a huge amount of wasted votes because there were two political parties that failed to surpass the threshold.

Is there any issue, outside the crucial ones that you’ve mentioned, that also infected by political short-term interests?

The content of the Bill does not even address one important issue that is the improvement of the integrity of the election management body (EMB). One of the example is the increase in campaign contribution limit, but the regulations does not mention any measure to ensure a more transparent, accountable, and fair electoral campaign financing.

What do you think the political dynamics will be after the government pass the Bill?

The EMB will have a very short time to prepare the whole electoral process for the 2019 National Elections. The new Elections Law itself mandates the EMB to start the initial phase of the electoral process 20 months before the voting day, that is in August 2017. However, considering the current situation, we can see that the EMB will be late. []