July 15, 2024

Prospects of Women’s Leadership in 2015 election

Female regional head elected in 2015 election will be dealing with the high degree of fragmentation of the parliament. It will  be a formidable challenge to run “pro-women” government for the next five years.

The representation of women in decision-making at the executive level is important to negotiate programs or policies in favor of women. Without the presence of women in executive chairs, regulations in regional area area in a form of regional regulations (Perda) often become a threat to women.

Until the end of 2014, the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) recorded 365 local regulations were not in favor of women. The discriminatory regional regulations were found in areas of Aceh, West Sumatra, West Java, and the majority of the Sulawesi region. Other forms of discrimination were limiting women*s time and freedom, forcing women to dress according to the single religious majority in certain areas, and did not provide appropriate assistance to women victims of sexual violence.

Pro-women local regulations were not expected to be much emerged from the 2015 regional election. Extreme fragmentation of the regional parliament will be hard to put forth pro women policy. Not to mention the female head of the region who was not supported by a solid number of seats in the coalition.

Instead of pushing through pro-women policies, women will be preoccupied tackling policy-making that could lead to political transaction or even corruption.

Female  regional head versus parliament polarization

In presidentialism professed by Indonesia up to the regional level, decisions and policies made are the result of the agreement between the executive and legislative. The success of female regional head in putting forth pro women policies were certainly influenced by relation between local government-in this case regional head and deputy regional head- to provincial Regional People*s House of Representatives (DPRD Provinsi) and Regency/City Regional People*s House of Representatives (DPRD Kabupaten/Kota).

One of the challenges of policy and decision making process (in relation to executive and legislative) is the high average level of fragmentation in the regional parliament. This situation is also exacerbated by the weakness of the bearer party support in parliament for women elected regional heads.

Effective index number of parliament party (ENPP) is the most relevant index to measure the degree of fragmentation of the parliament. As described in the previous chapter, this index is a mathematical formula proposed by Laakso and Taagepera (1979) which is intended to determine the number of relevant parties in the parliamentary decision-making and policy formulation.  The larger the ENPP index, the more fragmented parliament and the more difficult the decision to be taken.

Regional parliaments on average score 7 for ENPP index (see the following links http://www.rumahpemilu.org/in/read/10874/ENPP-Daerah-Perempuan-Terpilih-Pilkada-2015. This score shows that there are 7 relevant parties which have impacts on power polarization and difficult decision making. Regional heads have to face or lobby 7 powers or almost all parties who have parliamentary seats in DPRD to pass their policies.

Referring to the concept of multiparty proposed Satori (1976), this value indicates a multiparty extreme polarization. Extreme multiparty system has a far range of ideologies between the political parties as a result of more than five major political parties with a significant number of seats in parliament. This resulted in the formation of the polarization and the difficulty of building political stability. In other words, extreme multi-party system tends to be fragmented.

In addition to the condition of the parliament, the bearer coalition  party is also influential in the decision making process. In Tabanan, for example, Ni Putu Eka Wiryastuti supported by Indonesia*s Democracy in Struggle Party

(PDIP). In parliament, PDIP master majority seats- moderate parliamentary conditions indexed 2.9. Mastery of power in parliament will facilitate regional head in making decisions.

However, the opportunities that come to Ni Putu Eka Wiryastuti in Tabanan is not obtained by female heads of other regions. Weak coalition of the bearer party of female regional heads in parliament on average is 34 percent.

This phenomenon is often referred to as split government-executives and legislatives are controlled by different political blocs. This situation can lead to a conflict between legislatives and executives.

Three Options

In these conditions, the female regional heads are faced with three choices when they want to take a decision with the legislatives. First, let go of conflicts occur and lead to deadlock. Second, create a solid coalition government supporters. Third, build a cartelised party system to smooth public policies proposed by the executive.

Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Syamsuddin Haris (Kompas, 2016) think that in Indonesia, the first option is not going to happen. Female regional head will not allow this situation to end in deadlock.

Creation of a solid coalition government is also not possible. It can be seen from the formation of the bearer coalition  to run for regional head. The Coalition was formed just to qualify the application of the candidate, not yet think much about the establishment of a permanent coalition after the election. Support of the political party on the nomination is actually not only important to gain the most votes in the election process, but it is also important to gain the support of Parliament in decision-making.

Lead to corruption

Regional leaders would prefer the third option, building a cartelised party system. With this option, the government is able to be run and policies may be put forth because of a political compromise. Not infrequently, this practice leads to bribery and even corruption.

Krouwel in Katz and Crotty (2006) defined cartel party as a melting point of political parties in parliament with state officials and interest groups into a single entity with depends their insterest on the state and leave their competitive character to ensure and realize common interest towards  a sustainable power.

Not a few regional heads are entangled in corruption in the period of their leadership. Since decentralization from 2001 to 2014, at least 17 Governors have been/are in the process of being a suspect. At district/city levels, there are 331 regional heads/deputy regional head that have to deal with law enforcement agencies as a witness, suspect or convict.

Since the ruling of regional autonomy, regional heads at the same time obtain optimal resources trinity: authority (political decentralization), discretionary policy (administrative decentralization), as well as financial resources (fiscal decentralization) (Jaweng, 2014). While Parliament has no power of budget implementation.

This resource trinity can be found on the Law 9/2015. In the Law Article 101 paragraph 1, letter b, DPRD is only mandated to discuss and approve the budget submitted by the regional head.

This situation has a potential to lead to political transactions and corruption. Various interests of the party in DPRD try to intervene regional heads in budgeting. DPRD will try to deflect the budget that should be launched on the policy proposed by regional leader to policy that cater DPRD interests.


Election Reporter at rumahpemilu.org

(translated by SL)