DPR urges synergy between Electoral Ethical Council and Elections Commission

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Chairman of the Electoral Ethical Council (DKPP), Prof. Muhammad. (Photo: DKPP)

IO – Deputy Chairman of the House’s(DPR RI) Committee II Saan Mustopa has announced that the Committee will be requesting an explanation from the Electoral Ethical Council (DKPP) on the sanctions of Final Strict Warning and Dismissal of Arief Budiman from his position as the Chairman of the Elections Commissions (KPU) through DKPP Decree Number 123-PKE-DKPP/X/2020 on Wednesday (13/01/2021). 

“Committee II will not intervene with any internal decision the DKPP makes. However, as one of its partners, we deserve an explanation. And despite this decision, DKPP, KPU, and anyone else involved in the organization of the Elections should continue their synergy in the future and sustain the quality of future elections. Furthermore, it is hard for us to build a better political system if these agencies are perceived as – let alone are actually – enemies,” Saan said. 

DKPP questioned the contents of Decree of KPU RI Number 663/SDM.13.SD/05/KPU/ VIII/2020 dated 18 August 2020, that ordered Evi Novida Ginting Manik to be immediately reinstated as an active KPU RI Commissioner, while the invoked fourth order of Decree Number 82/G/2020/PTUN of the State Administrative Court (Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara – “PTUN”) (i.e. to order the President as the Respondent if the Case to rehabilitate the reputation of Evi Ginting Manik as Petitioner and to reinstate her position as a member of the KPU in the 2017-2022 term) is a non-executable order. 

This Court Order conflicts with, and is in any case legally lower in level than Presidential Decree Number 83/P of 2020, which confirms the dismissal of Evi Ginting Manik from the KPU. The Decree in turn conforms with the provision of Law Number 7 of 2017, a higher-level law that stipulates that any decision made by the DKPP is final and binding, and therefore cannot be overturned by the PTUN. In other words, Arief Budiman did not have any legal or ethical authority to order the reinstitution of Evi Manik as a member of KPU RI. Legally, Evi cannot be reinstituted as DKPP has dismissed her through DKPP Decree Number 317-PKE-DKPP/X/2020. Ethically, she has no right to be reinstituted either, as her dismissal itself was based on her violation of ethics that renders her unfit to serve as a member of the Committee in charge of the Elections. 

Therefore, DKPP Chairman, Prof. Muhammad, hopes that the considerations for Judgment Number 123-PKE-DKPP/X/2021 concerning the dismissal of Arief Budiman can be read out completely and comprehensively. He further denies any allegations that the DKPP has “pretentions” in dismissing Arief Budiman as the Chairman of KPU RI, as the entirety of the Case was based on the people’s reports to the DKPP. “We ask you, please read the Judgment from A to Z. We have reported the entirety of our investigation results and explained our reasoning in the Judgment. I hope this will help people understand why DKPP must make this grave decision,” Muhammad said in the 2020 Regional Elections Evaluation Work Meeting, also attended by Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, Acting Chairman of KPU RI Ilham Saputra, and Election Supervisory Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilihan Umum – “Bawaslu”) Chairman Abhan. 

Muhammad reiterates that DKPP will not pursue any ethical cases if there are no reports from the people, and that the hearings were also open for the public to watch. “Everyone observed as Mr. Arief was tried, including foreign friends of mine, as this is an international issue. Not a single second of the trial was closed from public access. Feel free to make your own judgment,” he said. 

Chairman of DPR’s Committee II Ahmad Doli Kurnia requests that the objectivity of the public’s reports and complaints to the DKPP should be investigated. “It is possible for unscrupulous people to fill in public complaints, or for the complaints themselves to be non-objective,” he said during the Work Meeting. 

Meanwhile, DPR RI Committee II member Junimart Girsang stated that all reports to the DKPP should have been responded to by summoning the person of interest for clarification before any other follow- up action is taken in the subsequent procedure. A similar process for processing ethics-related cases also applies when the House’s Ethics Council (Mahkamah Kehormatan Dewan – “MKD”) investigates cases in the DPR. (dan)