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Readjusting the Total Number of EMB’s Member for Concurrent Elections

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The government is planning to readjust the total number of election management bodies’ members. They claim it is for the success of the upcoming concurrent elections.

The members of the Special Committee for the new Elections Law Bill and the executive government are planning to readjust the total number of Election Commission (KPU) and Election Monitoring Body’s (Bawaslu) member at all levels. They plan to add four more members for KPU and Bawaslu. Therefore, the total number of KPU member will be eleven, while Bawaslu will be nine.

“We want to add more members for KPU and Bawaslu. KPU will be having eleven members, while Bawaslu will be having nine members,” says Lukman Edy, the Chief of the Special Committee, in Jakarta (06/05).

EMBs Will Have to Recruit Ad Hoc Members After 2024

Concurrent legislative and presidential elections will put more working pressure for EMBs’ staffs. Moreover, EMBs’ members will also face more pressing task after the 2019 Concurrent Elections, when concurrent local elections will also be conducted at the same time with concurrent national elections in 2024.

However, many people suggest that, after 2024, KPU should be turned into ad hoc institution. This is because the workload for election officials will be significantly diminished. “After 2024, KPU should turn ad hoc. In fact, KPU might be dissolved and changed into something completely different,” says Rambe Kamarul Zaman, a member of the Special Committee from Golkar Party.

There are five political parties in the Parliament agree with the addition of EMBs’ memebrs, they are Indonesia Democracy Party-Struggle (PDI-P), Golkar Party, Nation Awakening Party (PKB), National Democrat Party (NasDem), and Indonesia Grand Movement Party (Gerindra), although Gerindra only approve of two additional members. Meanwhile, Democrat Party, National Mandate Party (PAN), Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), and People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), are disagreeing with the addition plan.

Meanwhile, the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), asserts that the addition is unnecessary. Researchers from Perludem argue that the government need only to add the number of secratarial and supporting staffs of EMBs in order to improve their performance for the upcoming concurrent elections.

In addition, members of the Special Committee and the government want to add three more echelon 1 officers in order to improve KPU’s performance. “We want to add three more echelon 1 officers for KPU, so, like Bawaslu, there will be four echelon 1 officers: one general secretary, one inspectorate, and two deputies,” says Tjahjo Kumolo, the Minister of Home Affairs.

According to Perludem, secretariat supports is important because EMBs will never be able to do their job without secretariat staffs. However, adding more members will only hamper the decision making process within the organization.

The Chairman of KPU, Arief Budiman, even says the same thing. He says it will be more difficult to reach a consensus if the KPU members were too much.

“Currently, we have seven members. The quorum for every meeting is five members. If the total members were eleven, how much members is the quorum?” says Arief (06/06).

Staggered Terms

The recruitment of the four additional EMBs’ members shall be conducted no later than one year after the Elections Law Bill is passed. Therefore, the terms of office for KPU members will become staggered and not end simultaneously. There will be one year gap in terms of office between the additional members and the current members. This staggered terms is implemented to maintain the sustainability of EMBs’ performance.

Parliament members from the Democrat Party disagree with one year staggered term. Fandi Utomo, a member of the Special Committee from the Democrat Party, says one year gap is not enough to maintain performance sustainability. He argues two or two and a half year gap would be better.

“The stagger should be two to two and a half year span, so that the workflow become more sustainable,” says Fandi.

Arief Budiman, the Chairman of KPU, also says two and a half year gap as the most optimum time span to maintain performance sustainability. In two and a half year time, KPU members will already receive enough relevant information, knowledge, and experience to be transferred to the four additional members.

“If the government really want to maintain workflow sustainability, the gap in term of office should be two and a half year,” says Arief (06/06).

However, it is highly unlikely that the government will implement two and a half year gap, because the reason behind the member addition is to prepare EMBs to face the heavy workload during the 2019 Concurrent Elections. “By adding four additional members to EMBs, we want to prepare them so that they will be able to do their job well in organizing the 2019 Concurrent Elections,” says Johny G. Plate, a member fo the Special Committee from NasDem Party.

Total Number of EMBs’ Member at Provincial and Regency Level Will Also be Readjusted

Members of the Special Committee and the government will also readjust the total number of EMBs’ member at the provincial and regency level. Currently, the total number of EMBs’ member at provincial level is five to seven members, while the total member at regency level is three to five members. The exact number depends on geographical variables, such as size of area and total population.

Riza Patria, one of the member of the Special Committee, says there are several areas in Indonesia that need two additional KPU members, they are West Java, East Java, Central Java, and Papua. Meanhile, the number of EMBs’ member in several small areas, like the Regency of Thousand Island, will be reduced into three members only.

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