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Jakarta Post

Small parties oppose revision to elections law as they fight for better representation

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, June 8, 2020   /   06:04 pm
Small parties oppose revision to elections law as they fight for better representation A boy wearing a traditional costume guards ballot boxes at a polling center during the presidential election in Trumon, Aceh province, on April 17, 2019. Indonesia kicked off one of the world's biggest one-day elections, pitting president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo against ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a race to lead the Muslim-majority nation. (AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

Parties that failed to meet the legislative threshold in 2019 have voiced their objections to the House of Representatives’ proposal to amend Law No. 7/2017 on general elections.

The House is currently mulling over plans to change the current open-list proportional representation electoral system to a closed-list system that would grant political parties the power to decide on the candidates that would represent them in legislative bodies.

The proposal also includes raising the current 4 percent minimum parliamentary threshold to 7 percent.

The parties opposed to the proposal are the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), Crescent Star Party (PBB), Perindo Party, Hanura Party, Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), Berkarya Party and the Garuda Party.

“We've been deceived. We don’t know when the House did the academic study or discussed the draft,” Perindo secretary-general Ahmad Rofiq said in a statement on Monday.

Hanura secretary-general Gede Pasek Suardika said that with such revisions to Law No. 7/2017,  more parties would fail to meet the legislative threshold and more people would lose their political representation.

PBB secretary-general Afriansyah Ferry Noor said similar revisions to the law had been proposed by parties in the House several times, such as in 2009, 2014 and 2014.

"We challenged the revisions at the Constitutional Court, but do we have to do this every five years? Just to fight against this excessive desire for power?" said Ferry.

Meanwhile, PSI secretary-general Raja Juli Antoni called the proposed revisions a real threat to democracy, and “the people must be aware of it”.

Each secretary-general for the seven small political parties said they would communicate with their counterparts at middle-sized parties such the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Democratic Party that also opposed the revisions. 

“We will communicate intensively with them, as well as supporters of the revisions. We will immediately schedule a meeting," said PKPI secretary-general Verry Surya Hendrawan.

Ahmad Doli Kurnia, chairman of the House Commission II overseeing home affairs, told The Jakarta Post on Friday that nine political party factions at the legislative body were still divided over the draft, adding that it was still very open for changes.

"This is just an initial draft. We will deliberate it again and make a new draft based on all factions' viewpoints," he said, emphasizing the possibility to add several options to the draft.

For instance, the provision on the electoral system might include a list of factions that agree with the open-list system and those that support the closed-list system. The draft might also include some parliamentary threshold options.

So far, only the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party have agreed to adopt the closed-list system.

All factions are also still divided over raising the parliamentary threshold, with only the NasDem Party and Golkar agreeing on the 7 percent threshold.