Golkar and Nasdem: Raise the parliamentary threshold to 7% Observer: avoid deadlocks

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(Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO, Jakarta – The nine parties that managed to qualify for parliament in Senayan are considered by several politicians to be overweight. Therefore, since the beginning of the year, several have voiced the issue of raising the parliamentary threshold, currently just 4 percent, whereas the Parliamentary Threshold (PT) in the 2019 legislative elections was increased from the 3.5% figure set for the previous legislative election.

The idea of ​​raising the parliamentary threshold again was first brought up in a PDIP Party National Working Meeting. PDIP also requested that the government change the General Election using a closed proportional system, and also a tiered parliamentary threshold of 5% Parliament (DPR RI), 4% Provincial Legislature (DPRD I) and 3% Regency/City Legislature (DPRD II). “PDIP 2020 recommends an increase in the parliamentary threshold of at least to 5 percent,” explained PDIP Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto at JIExpo Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, Sunday (01/12/2020).

Deputy Chairman of Golkar Party Bambang Soesatyo considered that the threshold should be raised from time to time. “…so that there will be no more explosions in the number of parties in the Parliament,” said the politician. The former Speaker of the House, who now serves as the Speaker of the Indonesian Consultative Assembly (MPR) proposes that the parliamentary threshold be raised to 6-7 percent. According to him, a large parliamentary threshold will be more effective. PKS Party Deputy Chairman, Mardani Ali Sera suggested the parliamentary threshold of 7%. “We again expect 7 percent, if for the provinces and regencies I agree with PDIP for 2 and 3 percent,” Mardani said in Jakarta.

Two months have passed; the issue of raising the PT was again addressed by the General Chairmen of the government coalition parties, namely, Golkar and NasDem, at a political gathering at the Golkar Party Offices attended by the central board of the two parties. Chair of the Golkar Party Airlangga Hartarto said that one of the points agreed by the two parties was the matter of a parliamentary threshold of 7 percent. “The Golkar Party also sees this as something good and the Golkar Party will support the concept,” said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy.

The parliamentary threshold of 7 percent is proposed for national application. Meanwhile, the threshold for nominating the presidential candidate is 20 percent. “The Presidential Threshold is still 20 percent. And there is an additional proposal by Pak Surya Paloh, which is 7 percent parliamentary threshold to be applied nationally,” Airlangga said.

The two parties also discussed the decision of the Constitutional Court, which stated that the legislative and presidential elections be held simultaneously. Both parties are committed that the candidates they nominate must have positive results. In a sense, the regional head candidates that they are nominating must be truly qualified. “Golkar and NasDem strive to maintain the synergy in such a way as to produce a quality election output. Of course, there are two things to be considered by us, first, the aspect of the candidate’s capabilities, and second his or her electability, so this is an agreement,” said Surya.

Separately, Deputy Chairman of Gerindra Party Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said his party was not concerned if the parliamentary threshold (PT) became 7 percent. Gerindra is certain it can surpass that number. “We have not talked about it (related to the magnitude of the parliamentary threshold). However, it seems that if the PT had been raised to 7 percent, in the two last elections, Gerindra could have surpassed it. But we consider various aspects of other political parties which have passed four percent PT in the past and now can’t do it if it is raised, there are their voters which of course we cannot ignore,” Dasco said in the parliament complex, Jakarta, Tuesday (03/10/2020).

The results of votes in the 2019 legislative election: PDIP won 19.33% of votes, Gerindra 12.57%, Golkar 12.31%, PKB 9.69%, NasDem 9.05%, PKS 8.21% and Democrats 7.77%, PAN 6.84%, and PPP 4.52%. The Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) predicts that with the increase in the threshold there will only be five parties occupying the parliament, namely PDIP with 21.7%, Golkar 15.3%, Gerindra 14.7% PKB 6.20%, and Democrats 5.8 %.

Wasted votes
The increasing parliamentary threshold is felt hard for the PPP Party. Deputy Chairperson of PPP Arwani Thomafi surmised that the increase in the threshold would make more and more votes being forfeited because the party did not succeed in reaching the specified threshold. Of the seven political parties that failed in the last election, their accumulated votes reached 13.59 million votes. “This is important, right? We are concerned that the parliamentary threshold might be going to be raised,” said Arwani.

Chairperson of Hanura Oesman Sapta Odang suggested that the PT be lowered to 3%. Meanwhile, the PBB Party, through its General Chairperson, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, said that the proposed PT up to 7% is too high. “In my opinion, 4% is already too high. I think the most moderate number is 3%, not every year should it continue to rise; later if it continues to rise then there will be a single party. I think we should respect the diversity of the Indonesian people. So diverse as well are the aspirations of the parties,” Yusril said last January

Besides, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party, Syarief Hasan, considered that the current parliamentary threshold was good enough. The threshold has been able to make the party that previously managed to qualify for Senayan to fail to qualify. Syarief was worried that instead of wanting to create a higher quality democracy, the increase in the threshold would make several political parties overwhelmed by it. “It is also hard for other parties to reach 5 percent,” he said.

Previously, seven high-ranking political parties participating in the 2019 Election who did not qualify for parliament recently expressed their anger over the plan to raise the parliamentary threshold to the Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian. The Secretary-General of the Berkarya Party, Priyo Budi Santoso, and 6 party secretaries-general who did not succeed to enter parliament suggested there were no more parliamentary thresholds until the discourse lowered the presidential threshold.

Avoid deadlock
A political observer from the University of Indonesia, Syahrul Hidayat, said if the parliamentary threshold is raised, then only a few number of parties will enter parliament. However, with the legislative system in Indonesia that adheres to a proportional parliamentary system where an accrediting party votes to enter parliament, the threshold as it is now is quite proportional. However, if the goal is to increase the threshold in parliament so that the president can easily get the support of more than 50% of the parliamentary votes by narrowing the number of parties, then this is the right step that can also avoid deadlock in parliament. “But the question is, whatever the threshold is determined, is the party ready to meet the requirements to get popular support? In my opinion, major parties will agree with this proposal, but for parties with a vote of less than 7 percent, they become nervous,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Director of Indonesian Political Parameters, Adi Prayitno considered that the PT applied in the 2019 General Election was quite burdensome for both big, middle and small parties. The Political Analyst from UIN Jakarta said that even if the PT had to be forced to increase by a maximum of 7% to spur political parties to work optimally to pass the PT in the 2024 election later. “As for the provincial DPRD, the maximum is 2 percent and the regency/city DPRD is 1-1.5 percent,” he said. (Dan)