General and Regional Elections Draft Law to cover 5 crucial issues

7
DPR Committee II Chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia Tandjung. (Photo: GOLKAR)

IO – House of Representatives (“DPR”) Committee II states that the Draft Amendment to the General Elections Law (“General Elections Draft Law”) is being harmonized by the DPR Legislative Committee as the proposer before it can be validated as the General Elections Draft Law. The explanation, represented by DPR Committee II Chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia Tandjung and DPR Committee II Vice Chairman Saan Mustopa, reveals that Committee II has integrated the General Elections Law and the Regional Elections Law into a single Draft Law proposal.

“The two laws, i.e. the General Elections Law and Regional Elections Law, contain a number of identical provisions, creating redundance or overlapping. Having made our consideration from existing theories, we decided that Indonesian election should be comprised of a single Law, one that regulates Legislative Elections, Presidential Elections, and Regional Elections,” Doli stated in a meeting in DPR RI, Jakarta, on Monday (16/11/2020).

Doli went on to describe a number of crucial issues in the Draft Laws that always appear whenever General Elections Draft Law is being discussed, because it is related to the interest of stakeholders, especially political parties. “These five classic issues always appear and eternally get debated hotly, then end up getting resolved at a political party lobby level,” he said. “They are: Whether we should use open or closed Legislative Elections, the level of parliamentary threshold (if any), the level of presidential threshold (if any), district magnitude (the number of seats granted for each voting region), and what system to use to convert votes into seats. This is why Commission II has not decided on a specific option from the several alternatives available, as the final decision will be made with political party leaders,” he said. Doli also mentions four new issues: First, division of simultaneity. The Constitution Court decides that Legislative Elections are to be held simultaneously with Presidential Elections, with timing relating to the simultaneity of Regional Elections. The previous Law plans that Presidential Elections and Legislative Elections are to be held simultaneously in 2024. “There is also the option to perform Regional Elections between the two National General Elections in 2027. All Simultaneous Regional Elections are now being normalized at 2015-2020, 2017-2022, 2018-2023, while holding absolute Simultaneous National Elections in 2027 between the Simultaneous General Elections in 2024-2029,” he said.

Second, the Committee wants to develop democracy by making the Indonesian General Elections friendlier, easier, more efficient, and more pleasant for voters. Making General Elections more convenient is related to developments in information and communication technologies. “We are reviewing the implementation of electronic and digitalized work. We are testing the stages of e-summarizing of votes instead of e-voting, because e-voting in several European and Scandinavian countries shows a lot of deviations,” Doli said.

Third, creating rules that reduce or minimize moral hazards in General Elections, such as money politics and transactional politics.

Fourth, Committee II wants to ensure that the General Elections Law further clarifies the primary duties and functions of General Elections organizing institutions, as overlapping of authority frequently occurs between the KPU, the Election Supervisory Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilu – “Bawaslu”), and Elections Organization Ethics Council (Dewan Kehormatan Penyelenggara Pemilu – “DKPP”) resulting in many conflicts among them. For example, DKPP dismissed a KPU Commissioner and the Presidential Decree to validate it was issued. However, the Commissioner appealed the dismissal to the State Administration Court and the Decree ended up getting annulled. “This is counterproductive to the development of our democracy. We need to regulate everything properly, and we need to maintain the integrity of electoral organizers. Many of our colleagues still get involved with legal issues. We need to improve our recruitment process, as professionalism is about integrity as well as competence,” Doli said.

Doli further commented on issues of female representation; the position of civil servants and members of the military and police; and whether DPR members must resign permanently when they submit their candidacy for Regional Head positions, regulated differently from the requirement relating to other Government officials. “We hope that the (new) General Elections Law can generate a strong democratic political system that strengthens the presidential system, that helps Central and Regional Governments rule more effectively. By that I mean not just that they perform procedures properly, but that they implement laws substantially,” he said.