Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | 12:02 WIB

The tyranny of elections postponement


Jakarta, IO – The discourse to postpone the 2024 elections which amount to a “constitutional coup” keeps rolling like a wild ball. It’s structured, systematic, and massive with reasons that sound very well coordinated and convincing enough, advocated by survey institutes and think tanks such as Laboratorium 2045 (LAB 45). 

In its survey results, it claimed that more than 70% of Indonesians are very satisfied with President Jokowi’s performance. LAB 45 went on to say that their big data analytics captured people’s aspirations for presidential term extension. 

The next stage is to propagate this idea. This mission was given to Bahlil Lahadalia, the investment minister/BPKM head, and the chairmen of three major political parties: PKB, PAN and Golkar. 

The idea drew widespread criticism and rejected by the public and other political parties (PDI-P, Nasdem, Democratic Party, PKS and Gerindra) because it is deemed unconstitutional and undemocratic. The proponents were even branded “traitors” of people’s mandate. 

In this regard, President Jokowi, the parliament and the Constitutional Court (MK) must act decisively to uphold the sanctity and supremacy of the Constitution. The President must dismiss the ministers involved in this constitutional coup. In a similar vein, the parliament must remove its members who proposed it in the first place; and the Constitutional Court must dissolve the political parties in support of this anti-Pancasila act. 

Finally, Jokowi stated his stand on the issue. He said all parties, including himself, must obey, follow and submit to the Constitution. This sounds relieving and reassuring, and should be welcomed and abided by all elements of the society. 

But the next part of his statement was baffling when he said that the discourse arguing that elections be postponed cannot be banned because it is part of the dynamic of democracy. It seems that there are certain parties who want to lead the President astray by giving him bad advice. 

With all due respect to the President, in my opinion this statement is very dangerous. Idea that is against the law and the Constitution cannot be part of democracy because it belongs to a tyranny. The push to postpone elections can be interpreted as a desire to perpetuate power without having to go through the ballot, sowing the seeds of authoritarianism. 

This is a paradox. Even during the New Order dictatorship, elections were always held per schedule, every five years. Thus, to let this wild and illegal proposal run unchecked is madness, not to mention dangerous. 

It deserves to be banned, to preserve legal certainty at the very least. Otherwise, it will inevitably lead to chaos and anarchy because every party will be encouraged to think that they can propose constitutional changes at will. Horizontal conflicts may erupt. 

Imagine a proposal to make Indonesia a federal country again, or an Islamic republic. Or certain regions expressing their aspirations to break free from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). If we allow these in the name of democracy and freedom of speech, wouldn’t it lead to chaos and anarchy? 

Therefore, President Jokowi should be extremely cautious. The whisperer must have malicious intent to lead him and the nation astray, to destroy Indonesia’s burgeoning democracy and pave the way for tyranny. (ant)


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