DIRTY POLITICS? Push to extend presidential term may spark a constitutional crisis

ilustrasi Jokowi 3 periode

Jakarta, IO – The Jokowi administration appears to be fixated on increasing presidential term limits rather than addressing the country’s ailing economy. Even while people are struggling with soaring prices of essential commodities, gasoline and cooking oil scarcity, more expensive meat and sugar, and a Covid-induced increase in unemployment, the debate refuses to die down. 

The government’s primary responsibility is to fix these issues, but they appear to be neglected. They have been managed ineptly, and the government appears to lack seriousness in creating more jobs for its people. 

Ministers seems to not doing their supposed jobs. Instead, they are busy working to advance the three-term presidency agenda while on official duties. Take, for example, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, Coordinating Economic Minister, Home Minister, Investment Minister, Trade Minister and Communication and Information Minister. 

The Indonesian Association of Village Administrations (Apdesi) meeting attended by President Jokowi, Ministers Luhut and Tito was one blatant example of abuse of office by the head of government and his ministers in turning official duties into anti-constitutional propaganda tool for presidential term extension. 

It is possible that we are going to see more events such as this (Apdesi) being “piggybacked” going forward. Various declarations by community elements are expected to emerge to further the cause. The declaration is the result of the underground movement supported by the powers currently holding office. 

Unconstitutional underground movement 

During the gathering held at Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Tuesday (29/3), Apdesi “Chairman” Surtawijaya stated that the association supports the idea to extend President Joko Widodo’s term in offfice. According to him, Apdesi is indebted to Jokowi who has fulfilled their aspirations, one being changing the regulation on village chief salary payment from once every three months to once a month. So, they are returning the favor. Quid pro quo. As simple as that. 

However, this hides the fact that the declaration by Apdesi stemmed from an underground movement carried out by Jokowi’s top brass. 

This kind of deal is certainly not good for the Presi – dent and the village administrations because it violates the Constitution. This is an irony, as they are the ones who are supposed to uphold and call on the people to obey the Constitution. This is different than when civilians express their aspirations through parliament. They, of course, deserve to be heard. 

Here, it is a brazen attempt to undermine the Constitution. The public sees this as a systematic effort towards presidential term extension using big data touted by Luhut as representing the will of the people. 

Of course, if there is a massive effort, especially if there is a plan to declare support for Jokowi after Eid Al-Fitr, this can be categorized as an attempted violation of the Constitution. This warrants the police as law enforcement agency to prevent this plan from being carried out. 

Furthermore, on March 25, there were many in Pekanbaru who were furious because they believed they had been deceived. They were invited to the Kaharudin Nasution sports complex for a cooking oil distribution. The event turned out to be a political movement to announce support for President Jokowi’s third term, rather than a social event, when coupons for basic groceries were distributed. 

This will tarnish the image of the government and will serve as a bad precedent for democracy in Indonesia because this is an attempt by the government using its power to violate the Constitution. The procedural amendments seem to be merely legal mechanism, instead of democratic principle as a moral value. 

In this case, Jokowi and his supporters should listen to the voice of the people who have rejected the narrative. Thus, his energy and thoughts can be focused on tackling pressing issues such as economic recovery, and the rising prices and shortage of basic necessities that make people suffer.