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Jakarta Post

3 terms in office for president? Proposals for more terms put forth at MPR

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 22, 2019   /   09:19 am
3 terms in office for president? Proposals for more terms put forth at MPR People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) members attend a plenary meeting on Oct. 3, 2019, in Jakarta. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Proposals to revise constitutional provisions to increase the term of office for a president and vice president have been put forth at the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), Assembly deputy speakers have said.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Arsul Sani said on Thursday that proposals had been put forth for amendments to the 1945 Constitution that included increasing the presidential term limitation to three from the current two.

“Some suggest that the limit be three terms. Well, it’s still just discourse as there have been other proposals as well,” the United Development Party (PPP) politician said on Thursday.

Hidayat Nur Wahid, another deputy speaker from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said other Assembly members had proposed amending provisions on the term so that each elected president could serve for only a maximum of eight years.

The current Constitution stipulates that a president and vice president may serve only two five-year terms in office, meaning a maximum of 10 years.

“We can’t prevent people from making such suggestions,” Hidayat said on Wednesday.

He added that proposals for the Assembly to amend the Constitution back to its original version as drafted in 1945, as well as suggestions on total revision, had also resurfaced.

That said, planned amendments to the 1945 Constitution may not be limited to reinstating the State Policy Guidelines (GBHN), which were scrapped in 2002 as a result of amendments.

Read also: Why returning GBHN means rolling back democracy in Indonesia

Hidayat, however, declined to specify which factions had proposed such amendments, but only said that Assembly speakers were currently discussing all plans regarding constitutional amendments.

“The process is still far from over,” he said.

Upon being elected Assembly speaker, Bambang Soesatyo of the Golkar Party indicated that he would pursue limited amendments to the 1945 Constitution to revive the GBHN. Discourse on the subject, however, is snowballing among political parties.

NasDem Party secretary-general Johnny G. Plate previously said that constitutional amendments should be comprehensive and that there was no such thing as “limited amendment” in the country.

Critics and experts have scrutinized the planned amendment for indications of moving toward abolishing direct presidential elections and instead returning the authority to the Assembly, as the highest lawmaking body, to appoint presidents and vice presidents ─ similar to the practice during the days of the New Order regime.

Bambang, however, has repeatedly given assurances that the amendment would not touch constitutional articles on the presidential election, asserting that the president and the vice president would continue to be elected by the people. (kuk/ggq)