May 28, 2024

Parliamentary Thresholds: Between Democratic Principles and Government Stability

The Constitutional Court (MK) stated that the parliamentary threshold (PT) of 4 percent was unconstitutional and inconsistent with the principles of popular sovereignty and electoral fairness. Even though the changes to the parliamentary threshold will only take effect in the 2029 elections, there is starting to be a lot of resistance from major political parties to lowering the parliamentary threshold on the grounds that the multiparty system makes it difficult to form a stable government.

“At least with this Constitutional Court decision in the 2029 elections, we can maintain disproportionality in election results so that too many votes are not wasted, which will then conflict with the principle of popular sovereignty,” said researcher Heroik Pratama from the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) in an online discussion at KBR Public Space (14/3).

According to Heroik, the main point of the Lucudem lawsuit is to prioritize the proportionality of election results, which has so far been hampered by the existence of parliamentary thresholds. According to him, by simplifying political parties rather than increasing the parliamentary threshold size with more wasted votes, it is better to reduce the size of electoral districts (dapil).

However, in fact, Eludem in his lawsuit proposed the amount of PT by calculating the concept of effective threshold. Based on Lucudem’s calculations using the Taagepera formula, which takes into account the average size of electoral districts, number of electoral districts, and number of seats in the last four House of Representatives (DPR) elections, the effective parliamentary threshold is 1%.

“If we apply a national PT, the ideal would be 1%, but unfortunately, the court rejected our calculation formula, which should be included in the statutory provisions,” explained Heroik.

However, the Chairman of the Special Team for the Labor Party, Said Salahudin, assessed that the Constitutional Court’s decision was not firm enough in declaring the threshold unconstitutional. According to him, by returning it to the legislators or the DPR, the result will only be political subterfuge.

“For example, 4% is too high, and then make it 3.99%. “What happened was only the loss of 4%,” said Said.

Furthermore, according to Said, the threshold is not only about the requirements for electability; the threshold should also be read as a condition for winning. Said is of the view that the parliamentary threshold is not a condition for election but a condition for carrying out functions as a member of the council.

“Even if a threshold is created, the threshold should refer to the electoral district, so it should not be linked to other electoral districts. “Not nationally; the elections are based on electoral districts,” he explained. []