Call for more presidential candidates in 2014 polls
The next presidential polls in 2014 should allow nominations by all political parties that contest the parliamentary elections in order to give voters greater choice in who they want to lead the nation, political observers say.
In a discussion about the 2014 elections organized by Perludem (the Elections and Democracy Organization) on Friday, participants said the mechanism to nominate the presidential and vice presidential candidates should revert to the letter of the Constitution.
Article 6 of the Constitution states candidates must run on one ticket and be nominated by political parties or coalitions of parties that participate in the legislative elections.
In 2009, the Electoral Law added a stipulation requiring parties to win at least 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives or 25 percent of the popular vote to be eligible to nominate their candidates.
Only three pairs emerged from the process and incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, supported by a coalition led by his Democratic Party, beat Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Jusuf Kalla of Golkar.
The House of Representatives is currently deliberating a bill on presidential elections. With the next election just two years away, there are concerns that voters would have a limited choice of presidential candidates if the threshold was retained.
“As it stands, we are unlikely to see new faces in 2014,” Hanta Yuda AR of the Indonesia Institute said at the discussion.
Ray Rangkuti of the Indonesian Civilized Circle (LIMA) said the current threshold system would allow old politicians brought up during Soeharto’s New Order era to stay in power and prevent the emergence of new, younger candidates.
Without the threshold, the 2009 election could potentially have seen 40 candidates contesting the presidential elections since the legislative elections were contested by 40 political parties. In 2014, the number of contestants is not expected to exceed 15 parties after the Law and Human Rights Ministry tightened the rules on forming new political parties.
The three biggest political parties in the House — Democratic Party, PDI-P and the Golkar Party — however have publicly said that they would stick to the threshold system to limit the number of participants in the presidential elections, arguing that this would ensure only the best candidates got nominated.
Most surveys about popular candidates in 2014, based on the assumption of the threshold constraints, put Prabowo Subianto of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and Megawati at the top, followed by Kalla and businessman Aburizal Bakrie, both of Golkar. (aml)