November 30, 2023

Sipol and the Over-burdening Registration Requirements for Political Party

The problem with Political Party Information System (Sipol) begins when the registration requirement for political party becomes more over-burdening.

During the plenary meeting to discuss the Elections Law Bill months ago, representatives of political parties in the Parliament debated over the requirements for political party to participate in election process. Three political parties—PDIP, Golkar, and Nasdem—suggested that the requirements should be made stricter. These parties argued that every political party must have branch office in every province, every regency/municipality, and in 75 percent of sub-districts in every regency/municipality. They argued that this is to enhance the institution of political party that participating in the election process.

Other parties, Democrat Party for example, argued that the regulations that were, at that time, in effect, are already strict enough. However, they also asked for a leeway: representatives from the Democrat Party expected that there will be no alteration in the requirements so that political party that already have seats in the Parliament from the previous election does not have to undergo another verification process to participate in the next election.

“If we alter the requirement regulation, then all political parties must be re-verified. However, if we didn’t alter the requirements, then only new political parties need to undergo the verification process,” says Fandi Utomo from the Democrat Party during the meeting (05/18).

Eventually, Parliament members agreed to not alter the requirement regulations. And, because of this, members of the established parties argued that their party does not have to be re-registered.

Mandatory Registration

However, the Elections Commission (KPU) have different idea. Two months ago, on Tuesday (08/15) to be exact, KPU conducted a public test on the KPU Regulations on registration, verification, and selection of political party in elections. At that time, Hasyim Asy’ari, a KPU member, says that the verification of political party contains three procedural steps. First, political party must register themselves to KPU by submitting all the required documents as specified in the laws and regulations. Second, KPU will then assess and decide the appropriateness of political party to participate in election based on the submitted documents. Third, KPU then will conduct a factual verification of the documents.

Every political party that wishes to participate in the election process must undergo those steps. Meanwhile, factual verification will only apply to new political party.

“It is our provisional position that political party that has already participated in the previous election does not have to undergo another factual verification process. They will only need to submit the required documents for registration,” says Hasyim in Jakarta (08/15).

However, members of the Parliament protested against this idea. The MPs reminded KPU members to not make any regulations that are contradictory with the Elections Law.

The Chief Deputy of Commission II of the Parliament, Lukman Edy, said, old parties have already been verified before the 2014 Elections started. So, there is now way these parties will be disqualified to enter the 2019 Elections. An official from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bahtiar, also said the same thing. According to Bahtiar, the 12 political parties that won seats from the 2014 Elections should be automatically considered as legitimate for the 2019 Elections participation, as specified in the Elections Law.

Hasyim Asy’ari stood his ground. Hasyim insisted that all political parties that wish to participate in 2019 Elections must undergo new verification process.

Administrative Regime

Titi Anggraini, the Executive Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), called this over-burdening registration requirement for political party as “administrative regime”. The stricter the requirements, the more documents needed to be submitted by political party to register themselves to KPU. This is why, according to Titi, Political Party Information System (Sipol) is needed.

The implementation of Sipol may render the registration process more efficient, and it may also make the verification process more accurate, valid, and legitimate. Sipol, for example, can easily detect any double entry in a document. For political party, Sipol may help them to enhance their party institution.

“It is difficult for us to expect KPU to conduct a thorough assessment and verification process without Sipol. Manual assessment and verification process requires more money, time, and other resources,” says Titi.

The majority of political parties seem unprepared when—through the implementation of KPU Regulations No.11/2017 Article 13 paragraph (1)—KPU makes the use of Sipol in registration process mandatory. They were expected that they will not have to undergo another verification process because they participated in 2014 Elections.

In addition, there is legal consequence if political party fail to fulfill that requirement. According to Chapter V of the KPU Regulations 11/2017, especially Article 61, it is an open possibility that an old party may disqualified during the registration process if they fail to use Sipol to do the registration.

Many parties then try to blame KPU for the poor infrastructure quality of the Sipol itself. In many remote areas, party members unable to access Sipol website due to poor internet connection. Some party members even say that the Sipol servers are mostly down during uploading data and documents. All of these problems with Sipol are used by political parties to protest against KPU’s regulation to make the use of Sipol mandatory.

The Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) heed this concern and come to rescue political parties. Bawaslu officially ask KPU to not make the use of Sipol mandatory in the party registration process. According to a Bawaslu member, that regulation does not have legal basis and is contradictory with the laws and regulations.

However, a researcher from Perludem, Fadli Ramadhanil, says, KPU decision to make Sipol mandatory does not contradict the current Elections Law. According to Fadli, KPU have every right and authority to make election regulation as they see fit.

“The regulation itself does not contradicting the laws and regulations. KPU have the rights and authority to make Sipol mandatory,” says Fadli.