Learning from the Philippines

The Philippines” 2006 election is the first time for Philippines to merge presidential election and parliamentary election. It is an important lesson for Indonesia which will hold the first presidential election and parliamentary election simultaneously in 2019. If mistaken, the result will only make the elections more complex.

On May 9th 2016, the citizens who have the right to vote in the Philippines who went to polling stations were given a piece of ballot on which both surfaces were used to vote. The first surface is filled with various personal candidates. The second one is filled with hundreds of politics parties. The need of fund efficiency was fulfilled here because from 11 kinds of position in politics only uses one ballot.

The variety of personal candidates in the first ballot are:

1.  Presidential candidates, 2. Vice presidential candidates, 3. Senate candidates, 4. The House of Representatives candidates (DPR) individual course, 5. Governor candidates, 6. Vice Governor candidates, 7. Provincial Council 8. Major candidates, 9. Vice major candidates, 10. Councilor candidates

The second surface is electing the House of Representatives. There are only serial numbers and the name of parties in this ballot. There is no symbol of the party. The name of legislative candidate is also absent except in Mindanao region.

The power of the Philippines” concurrent election

The House of Representative election/DPR in the Philippines is different from Indonesia in the district magnitude/DM). 80% of DM in the Philippines” election is only 1 chair using the plurality variant of election system which is first past the post (FPTP). While the Indonesian DPR uses the PR candidate list system with the amount of 3-10 chairs.

Before the context of the Philippines” concurrent election runs, election expert, Didik Supriyanto explained, the bigger amount of chairs in one election region, the higher fragmentation of parties in the parliament. Meaning, the amount of chairs in one election region is a determining factor of government divided by presidential system.

Divided government in a form of a president who is not supported by parties/coalition of the majority of parliament will be stagnated and tend to include corruption.

According to the system of election, one chair in every region in the Philippine”s election supports the formation of parties” fragmentation that is very little in parliament. The longer it is applied, it will lead to two polarization of party system. Meanwhile the 3-10 chairs in electing regions in Indonesian election is proven to cause high parties” fragmentation in the parliament. Fragmentation of parliament of the Philippines” 2010 election is 4,5 while the DPR”s fragmentation of the Indonesian Election in 2014 is 9.

The variable of scale system of voting region in the Philippines” election needs to be adjusted with the Indonesian election. It cannot be made as one in every voting region with election system of plurality FPTP but needs to be lessened to 3-6 chairs. This rule is valid for DPR, provincial DPRD and district/city elections.

The number of chair for every voting region that is too much in the DPR election and DPRD is actually deviate from the proportional system principle. The understanding of “proportional” as an election system is how election as a vote conversion to position to become a proper mechanism. The justice of proportional system is suitability between the percentage of vote and the percentage of chairs that are obtained. If party A obtained 30% votes in the election, so that party A obtained 30 chairs in the parliament.

What has been happening is that the percentage of chairs that was obtained by parties is not proportional with the percentage of vote that was obtained. As an example, Nusa Tenggara Barat voting region in the 2014”s election. All of the parties from NTB for DPR got 1 chair, evenly. While the percentage of votes between the highest and the lowest is very striking. Golkar, the highest, obtained 333.282 votes of 2.760.082 (12%) legal votes only to get 1 chair. While Nasdem only 37.889 (1,3%) votes also obtained 1 chair.

Philippine”s concurrent election

Referring to the variety of political position and its division in the two surfaces of one ballot, the Philippines” 2016 election is not a concurrent election. The truth is that the concurrent election is a merging of executive election and legislative election in one step of execution especially the voting phase. The purpose is to create a congruent government or avoid divided government that takes a form of the number of chair of the parliament majority is not owned by a party or party coalition that carry the elected president

The definition and the purpose of concurrent election did not manage to be fulfilled in the Philippine”s 2016 elections. In the first surface, the Philippine”s election merged the election of executive leader of all levels, national and local at once. There are 5 presidential candidates, 6 vice presidential candidates, 275 governor candidates for 81 provinces, 206 vice governor candidates for 81 provinces, 407 major candidates for 145 cities, 350 vice major candidates for 145 cities.

The function of elections design is to optimize the coattail effect of presidential elections towards the parliamentary elections. The legislature party election is separated from the ballot”s surface with the presidential election. The Philippine”s election instead merged the presidential election with provincial elections and city.

If the concurrent election has a concept of merging executive and legislative elections, regional election should be merged with local parliament elections. Then this is called a local concurrent election.

The design of Indonesia”s concurrent election needs local concurrent elections to create a correction phase for the presidential government. The advantage of presidential government system is the certain period of tenure. However this is also the weakness of presidential. If the performance of the president is bad, we have to wait until the tenure is over. The president cannot be dismissed, except if the president violates the law.

The local concurrent election becomes a correction of national government in the midst of the president”s tenure. If it is not satisfactory, the president and the supporting party can be punished in the local concurrent election, by choosing another candidate and party in every level of region. However if the performance is satisfactory, regional concurrent election will strengthen central relation and region.

The 2016”s election that is held by the Philippines is actually not a simultaneous election. “Synchronized elections,” called the Executive Director of Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), Titi Anggraini who directly observed the election in Manila, Philippines. Synchronized elections is only based on funding efficiency. It is most likely that the elected government of the Philippines” 2016 elections is as inefficient as the previous elected government in the Philippines: boisterous and susceptible to corruption.

It is concluded that the Philippines” 2016 election only adds complexity and not more. Indonesia should learn not to repeat the same mistake in designing and holding the concurrent Election in 2019 and so on. []


Translated by Andina