Legislatures Determine Model of Simultaneous Elections

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Chief Justice Anwar Usman reading the verdict of case No. 16/PUU-XIX/2021 on the judicial review hearing of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections, Wednesday (11/24/2021). Photo by Humas MK/Ilham W.M.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 19:49 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The petition on the simultaneity of general elections was rejected by the Constitutional Court (MK) at a ruling hearing for case No. 16/PUU-XIX/2021 on the judicial review of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

“[The Court] adjudicated, declares to reject the Petitioner’s petition in its entirety,” said Chief Constitutional Justice Anwar Usman alongside the other eight constitutional justices.

The Court believes the Petitioners’ wish that the provincial and regency/city DPRD (House of Representatives) elections be separated had been considered in the simultaneous election models in the Constitutional Court Decision No. 55/PUU-XVII/2019. Models four and five in the decision have accommodated the Petitioners’ wish. Their wish is at least accommodated in model six: “other options insofar as maintaining the simultaneity of general elections to elect DPR, DPD, and president/vice president.”

“In this context, the Petitioners’ wish for a focus on one of the models is not under the Court’s jurisdiction but the legislatures’. If the Court had decided on a model from those in Decision No. 55/PUU-XVII/2019, the Court would have implicitly rendered other models unconstitutional,” Constitutional Justice Saldi Isra said reading out the Court’s legal considerations.

Therefore, the Court believes that, as has been considered in said decision, the election model is the legislatures’ prerogative.

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In response to the Petitioners’ argument that the five-box elections have led to heavy, irrational, and inappropriate workload of the election organizers, the Court asserted that it is related to the management of elections. As such, it is a matter of norm implementation and is unrelated to the technicality of elections management, which determines the success of simultaneous elections. The legislatures’ choice of model is highly dependent on the election management designed by the election organizers, supported by the legislatures and relevant stakeholders.

Based on the abovementioned considerations, the Court declared all of the Petitioners’ arguments legally groundless.

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The Petitioners challenged Article 167 paragraph (3) and Article 347 paragraph (1) of the Election Law. The former reads, “The voting process in an election shall be conducted simultaneously on a holiday or a day determined as a national holiday,” while the latter reads, “The voting of all elections shall be conducted simultaneously.

The Petitioners are citizens who worked as an election organizer in a polling station working committee (KPPS), a subdistrict election committee (PPK), and polling committee (PPS) during the 2019 Elections. Akhid Kurniawan was a KPPS member at TPS 024 of Wirokerten Village, Banguntapan Subdistrict, Bantul Regency, Yogyakarta Special Province. Dimas Permana Hadi was a PPK member of Ngaglik Subdistrict, Sleman Regency, Yogyakarta Special Province. Heri Darmawan was a PPK member of Sukmajaya Subdistrict, Depok City, West Java Province. Subur Makmur was a PPS member of Abadijaya Village, Sukmajaya Subdistrict, Depok City, West Java Province.

At the preliminary hearing on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, legal counsel Kahfi Adlan Hafiz talked about the Petitioners’ workloads as KPPS, PPK, and PPS members in the 2019 Elections. He said the workload of election organizers was a fundamental issue.

“The workloads of election organizers, especially KPPS, PPK, and PPS, according to Petitioners, were very heavy, irrational, and inappropriate,” he said. The Petitioner reasoned that it was because the elections were carried out simultaneously with five ballots to elect the president and vice president, the House of Representatives (DPR), the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), the provincial DPRD (Regional Legislative Council), and the regency/city DPRD.

Also read: Govt Cancels Experts' Appearance at Hearing on Election Law

Kahfi relayed Akhid Kurniawan’s recount (Petitioner I) of the KPPS’ duties, which were not only limited to the voting day, but also at least since three days before voting day. They include receiving and securing the logistics and building the polling stations (TPS).

Despite their grievance, the Petitioners intended to participate in KPPS, PPK, and PPS in the 2024 Elections. However, they filed the petition not only in relation to their duties in the 2019 Elections, but also because the issue will have greater impacts on the workloads of ad hoc election organizers throughout the country in 2024—especially KPPS, PPK, and PPS—on voting, vote counting, and recapitulation. They believed that it was directly related to the smooth running of honest and fair elections in accordance with the people’s sovereignty, with more rational, appropriate, and humane workloads for the election organizers. 

Writer        : Nano Tresna Arfana
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Tiara Agustina
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 11/25/2021 22:10 WIB

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