Political parties outside Parliament protest “discriminatory” policy

34
Small-time parties demand access to political funding. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Functionaries from the seven political parties who failed to enter Parliament through the 2019 Elections have met with Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian concerning political party financial aid and formally submitted a complaint to him. The Working Party, the Indonesian Solidarity Party (Partai Solidaritas Indonesia – “PSI”), Garuda Party, Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (Partai Keadilan dan Persatuan Indonesia – “PKPI”), Indonesian Unity Party (Partai Persatuan Indonesia – “Perindo”), People’s Conscience Party (Hati Nurani Rakyat – “Hanura”), and the Crescent Star Party (Partai Bulan-Bintang – “PBB” were represented. 

Working Party General Secretary Priyo Budi Santoso stated that the seven parties found the political party financial assistance policy to be discriminatory. “We also have thoughts about financial assistance from the Government. We, the seven non-parliamentary parties feel that we are treated unfairly. According to regulations, Government assistance should be granted only to those who pass the threshold and win seats in Parliament,” Priyo said at the Office of the Minister of Home Affairs, Jakarta, on Wednesday (29/01/2020). 

The rule he referred to is Government Regulation Number 1 of 2018, which states that any party that has a seat in the House of Representatives (“DPR”) has the right to obtain political party financial assistance of IDR 1,000.00 for each vote validly earned. Priyo stated that the ruling is discriminatory, as the seven parties who failed the 2019 Elections also obtained valid votes. However, the total number of votes did not make them eligible for political party financial assistance, because the parties failed to reach the Parliamentary Threshold of 4%. “The total of votes that we have earned is over 11% of the total national vote. If we unite, this is sufficiently large enough for us to get our own Faction in the Parliament. However, the law is too rigid and does not allow it. That’s a whole 11% of aspirations dead.” he said. 

Priyo further stated that the political party functionaries were infuriated that the Parliamentary Threshold is proposed to be raised to 7% by existing parties in the DPR. The seven parties then suggested that the Parliamentary Threshold should be eliminated, the Presidential Candidacy Threshold reduced. “If there is a better, healthier discourse, the desire to increase the threshold, which will end up killing democracy, should be forestalled. If necessary, the threshold should be lowered to 0%. We are pitching ideas to discuss in order to generate better thinking,” he said. 

In fact, the Minister welcomed some of the ideas pitched by the functionaries, among others whether or not we should continue the Simultaneous Elections, which sets the Presidential Elections on the same day and hour as the Legislative Elections. Priyo and his six counterparts suggested that the Elections should be held separately. “The Minister welcomed our suggestion to separate the Presidential Elections from the Legislative Elections in the future,” he said. 

Earlier, Tito also invited the functionaries of the 9 political parties that made it to Senayan in the 2019 Elections, i.e. the General Secretaries of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”), Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party, Functional Group (Golongan Karya – “Golkar”) Party, Democrat Party, National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – “PKB”), National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – “PAN”), Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera – “PKS”), National Democratic (NasDem) Party, and the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan – “PPP”). 

Issues discussed in the Meeting include political party financial assistance, Electoral Laws (revisions to this Law, and its placement in the National Legislative Program), and the 2020 Simultaneous Regional Elections in 270 regions. There was speculation that the Political Party Law should be revised in order to increase political financial assistance for political parties, as recommended by Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – LIPI”) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”). “However, LIPI and KPK’s recommendations also include other changes to the Political Party Law, in terms of transparency in Party management. But for us, the primary issue was to get the political party financial assistance raised,” said PPP’s General Secretary, Arsul Sani. (Dan)