Justice Enny Nurbaningsih Talks Democracy in Presidential System

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Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih speaking at a virtual Short-Term Education Program organized by the National Resilience Institute, Friday (16/7/2021). Photo by Humas MK/Panji.

Friday, July 16, 2021 | 17:17 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih spoke at the Short-Term Education Program (PPSA) Batch XXIII of 2021 organized by the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) on Friday afternoon, July 16, 2021. She delivered a presentation on “Democracy in the Presidential System.”

She said democracy was inseparable from popular sovereignty, in which the people hold the highest power in a democracy.

“We can see that this has formally adopted by many democratic countries. The social, political, and other organizations [within a country] make democracy one of the principles in [said country],” she said.

Constitutional Democracy

For a country, democracy-related matters are within the constitution. Today, democracy is claimed to be the best organizational system. Justice Enny said democracy had undergone many developments, including in terms of attributes.

“As the culmination of this idea of democracy, the most idealized notion in modern times is the constitutional democracy,” she added.

Justice Enny said the word ‘democracy’ is not mentioned in the 1945 Constitution as the drafters viewed it as a western ideology. It was then avoided due to concerns that it would create a western-sounding constitution.

“In its development, in the amendment to the 1945 Constitution, democracy is mentioned but only once in Article 33 paragraph (4), which stipulates that the national economy is carried out based on economic democracy. Democracy as a principle was explicitly expressed in order to regulate the management of the national economy,” she explained.

Elaboration of Democratic Principles

However, Justice Enny added, the constitution does not necessitate the word ‘democracy.’ Instead, what matters is how it elaborates democratic principles. When they are implemented, a state government’s democracy will show. This was expressed during the amendment to the 1945 Constitution, especially in Article 1, which states that Indonesia is a rule of law.

“In a rule of law that is based on law, democracy shall ideally be carried out constitutionally following the procedure set out in the law and the constitution,” she stressed.

The concept of legal democracy based on the constitution, which is known as the constitutional democracy, has developed, she said. Current discussions have even come the conclusion that a state based on the constitution is the most ideal form of government.

Justice Enny added that in a constitutional democracy, the government’s power is limited and it cannot be authoritarian toward its citizens. The principles of a constitutional democracy, she explained, include the recognition and respect for human rights, the limitation of power through separation of powers along with a mechanism for resolving constitutional disputes between state institutions, an independent and impartial judiciary, and judicial review by a judicial institution that is authorized to do so.

She also said that the elections in Indonesia is a democratic festival for transferring powers. They are based on two things: popular sovereignty and democracy.

“In this context, sensibilities are needed in our democracy so that we can really realize a government by the people,” she added.

A Chapter on Elections

Therefore, Justice Enny added, the 1945 Constitution was amended with a special chapter on elections, Chapter VII B. Article 22E paragraph (1) determines the principles to realize a constitutional democracy through routine and periodic agendas that is direct, public, free, confidential, honest, and fair elections every five years.

The implementation of electoral principles is key to realizing realize a government by the people. Therefore, independent election organizers are important. In this case, the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) and their ranks must be independent in safeguarding the democratic festival and maintaining the purity of the people’s votes.

Justice Enny explained that democracy can be implemented in two ways: directly and with representation. A direct democracy such as that in the ancient Greece is very difficult to implement today. Meanwhile, a representative democracy is carried out through control by citizens, both through general elections and indirectly through government transparency. The purpose and objective of elections, she said, is for citizens to choose state leaders and representatives who will lead the country.

So, how does democracy work in the presidential system. “We didn’t find any mention of the presidential system as the basis for the Indonesian government in the 1945 Constitution before and after the amendment. When we talk about the government system, we talk about the management of the relationship between the executive and the legislative,” she said.

In a parliamentary government, the government is carried out by the parliament and there is parliamentary supremacy. Meanwhile, Justice Enny said, the presidential system does not recognize cooperation between the executive and the legislative because they are both separate. In order to avoid abuse of power or power absolutism, checks and balances are necessary.

Writer           : Nano Tresna Arfana
Editor          : Lulu Anjarsari P.
Translator     : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 7/16/2021 09:47 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian version, the Indonesian version will prevail.