Lawmakers turn up in droves for election bill showdown
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani
The Jakarta Post
In a rare sight, almost all members of the House of Representatives arrived at the plenary session on Thursday, ready to cast their votes on the five contentious provisions in the election bill that will determine the mechanism of the 2019 general elections.
A typical plenary session sees the attendance of less than half of House members. Thursday’s session, however, recorded the attendance of at least 534 of 560 lawmakers, an attendance of 95.4 percent.
Most factions are said to have instructed their members to attend the plenary session under the threat of sanctions to cast their votes and secure their faction's interests.
Hanura faction secretary Dadang Rusdiana said the party had banned its lawmakers from going out of town before the session. The instruction for the lawmakers to stay in Jakarta was distributed via WhatsApp, he said.
He added that the party would punish party member who decided to vote against the list of proposals officially agreed upon by the ruling coalition, of which Hanura is a member. The punishments ranged from the issuance of warning letters to their dismissal as lawmakers.
NasDem, also a member of the ruling coalition, had also instructed all of its lawmakers to attend the session and vote for the ruling coalition's proposal, known as Package A. The package includes a proposal to maintain the presidential nomination threshold at 20 percent of House seats or 25 percent of popular votes.
The threshold is intended to limit the number of parties able to field a candidate, and thereby limiting the total number of presidential contenders. (ary)
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