Seven parties stand against the 7% parliamentary threshold

General Secretary of the People’s Conscience (Hati Nurani Rakyat – “Hanura”) Party Gede Pasek Suardika. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – General Secretaries of the seven parties that failed to enter the Parliament in the 2019 Elections have jointly urged the House of Representatives (DPR) to reject the proposal to raise the parliamentary threshold from 4% to 7%. They state that they find this limit to be excessive, as even with a 4% threshold, 7 out of 16 Parties failed to enter Senayan in past the Election. 

The seven General Secretaries, who banded together in the “General Secretaries for Democracy Forum”, are the General Secretary of Working Party (Partai Berkarya) Priyo Budi Santoso, General Secretary of Crescent Star Party (Partai Bulan Bintang – “PBB”) Afriansyah Ferry Noor, General Secretary of the People’s Conscience (Hati Nurani Rakyat – “Hanura”) Party Gede Pasek Suardika, General Secretary of Garuda Party Abdullah Mansuri, General Secretary of the Indonesian Unity (Persatuan Indonesia – “Perindo”) Party Ahmad Rofid, the General Secretary of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (Partai Solidaritas Indonesia – “PSI”) Raja Juli Anthoni, and General Secretary of the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (Partai Keadilan dan Persatuan Indonesia – “PKPI”) Verry Surya Hendrawan. 

The result of the General Secretaries’ video conference, held on Saturday (06/06/2020) night, was to agree on a demand that the DPR not validate the latest Election Draft Law. 

Gede Pasek Suardika stated that the crucial philosophies missing from the Elections Draft Law are those of “justice” and “unity”. 

“It is obvious that the desire for power has defeated the two philosophies,” he complained in a written press statement issued on Sunday (07/06/2020). 

Pasek stated that such a move is a threat to the archipelagic spirit. Indonesia is regulated and controlled by regions with dense populations, because priority is accorded to the number of votes gained by any given party. Therefore, sparsely-populated areas tend to be underrepresented. “The winner of more votes in a region can actually fail against a party with fewer votes, because the party with the higher regional vote count fails nationally with such an unreasonable threshold restriction,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Priyo Budi highlighted the great potential of lost votes. He believes that this is a valid cause of concern. “We believe that it is our duty to provide balanced information to the people, to inform them that the risk of loss of tens of millions of votes is real,” he said. 

Afriansyah Ferry Noor stated that relatively similar conditions were faced in the 2009, 2014, and 2019 Elections. “The whole issue is brought to the Supreme Court again. Are we going to continue wasting time, money, and energy on the same issue once every five years, simply to fight against this excessive arrogance and desire for power?” he said. 

Raja Juli of PSI added that parliamentary threshold and/or presidential threshold is a real threat to democracy. “We have heard many negative responses from the regions. The people must be made aware of this issue as quickly as possible,” he said. 

“We are clearly duped here. It is never clear when academic studies were held, when preliminary discussions were held, and suddenly it’s part of the National Legislative Program at DPR RI. ‘Priority’ issue too! It’s overfast work,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Verry Surya Hendrawan stated that intensive communications with all relevant groups will be held, including with the three political parties in DPR who are against this threshold restriction: National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – “PAN”), United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan – “PPP”), and the Democrat Party. “Naturally, we are also communicating with those of our colleagues in DPR RI who proposed this change. We are scheduling meetings soon. Insha Allah, with Allah’s will, we all want what is best for our beloved State and nation,” he said. 

The first suggestion for raising parliamentary threshold was raised on the Anniversary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) in January 2020. A proposal was put forth to raise the threshold to 5%. The plan gained traction, and other parties – for example, the Functional Group (Golkar) Party and the National Democratic Party (NasDem) even requested that the threshold be raised to 7%. The reasoning was in order to better filter parties qualified to enter the Parliament, strengthen the DPR, and provide a sense of security for parties with big vote counts. 

Committee ll of DPR RI dealt with the proposal by creating a Draft Law. One of the issues being debated between factions is the parliamentary threshold. Vice Chairman of Committee ll Saan Mustopa said there are three suggestions for an alternative amendment to the parliamentary threshold. According to him, only political parties and Electoral Candidates can satisfy the requirement of a 7% parliamentary threshold of national valid votes in order to be allowed a seat in the DPR. “In other words, if they gain the 7% votes required, then in the regions, the parties that automatically enter the Parliament are those gaining 7% of the national vote,” he said. (dan)