The Petitioner’s expert, Ramlan Surbakti, testifying virtually at the judicial review hearing of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections, Thursday (10/20/2022). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.
Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 20:07 WIB
JAKARTA (MKRI)—The KPU (General Elections Commission) was seen as the best institution for electoral redistricting of the House of Representatives (DPR) and DPRD (Regional Legislative Council) seating for the election as per Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections (Election Law), said Ramlan Surbakti and Didik Supriyanto, two experts presented by the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) at the material judicial review hearing for the Election Law on Thursday afternoon, October 20, 2022.
In his testimony for case No. 80/PUU-XX/2022, Ramlan revealed the reasons for that statement. First, the KPU is independent and nonpartisan. It organizes elections based on the Election Law, making it the implementer of the law produced by the House and the president. Second, the House and the Government set up 7 principles for electoral redistricting (Article 185 of Law No. 7 of 2017, which, ironically, the legislatures did not follow, for example in the case of Dapil (electoral district) 3 for West Java DPR and Dapil 1 for South Kalimantan DPR. If the redistricting authority had been given to the KPU, these two anomalous districts would not have existed.
Third, Ramlan added, the KPU had had experience in electoral redistricting twice since 2024. Disproportional DPR seat allocation to the provinces in the 2004 Election was not the KPU’s fault, but the House and Governments’, who had set conflicting seat allocation criteria.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Court to order the legislatures to give the seat allocation authority to the KPU within the boundaries of the law,” he said before Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto and the other constitutional justices.
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The former KPU chairman for 2004–2007 proposed that the criteria for population number and territorial justice in DPR seat allocation to the provinces consider ease of operation.
“Because the DPR seat allocation to the provinces that I am proposing is to divide the DPR seats equally (fifty-fifty) between the provinces in Java Island and those outside of Java. This balance is the implementation of the criteria for regional justice. The current allocation of DPR seats only benefits a number of provinces that are over-represented outside Java. Meanwhile, what we propose is regional justice between the provinces in Java and those outside Java. This regional justice also needs to be realized because regional (provincial) Interests cannot be represented effectively by the Regional Representatives Council as the DPD does not participate in decision-making on bills on regional interests. And finally, to ensure regional justice, the minimum number of seats in the DPR for each province is supposed to be 3 seats,” Ramlan asserted.
Also read: House, President Request Reschedule of Hearing on Electoral Districts in Election Law
Returned to the KPU
Election researcher Didik Supriyanto echoed the opinion that the KPU be the best institution for seat allocation. He explained that electoral redistricting is left to the KPU as an independent election organizer. Article 195 paragraph (1) of Law No. 7 of 2017, which reads, “The KPU shall draw and establish the electoral districts in an election of members of Regency/City DPRD based on the provisions of this Law,” shows that the legislatures had left the electoral redistricting to election organizers, as they had in 1999 and 2004 Elections.
“Therefore, the electoral redistricting authority for DPR and provincial DPRD election should also be returned to the KPU as the independent election organizer,” Didik said.
He also explained that electoral redistricting must take into account population cohesion, which is informed by administrative borders, geographical conditions, culture similarities, and community interests. This administrative territorial unit greatly determines the accountability of representatives sitting in the government to voters, considering that government policies are always limited and apply within the boundaries of the administration areas. Thus, regional unity is very important to avoid gerrymandering or bad accountability due to electoral redistricting based on the interests of certain political parties and candidates.
Therefore, Didik added, violation of these key principles of electoral redistricting, which are referred to in Appendices III and IV of Law No. 7 of 2017, should not happen if the legislatures are consistent in following Article 185 of the Election Law, which reads, “In determining the electoral districts for the election of members of the DPR, Provincial DPRD, and Regency/City DPRD, the following principles shall be considered: a. equality of every single vote; b. adherence to an electoral system that is proportional; c. proportionality; d. integrality of contiguous regions; e. similar geographical scope; f. cohesion; and g. continuity.”
“Disregard for electoral redistricting principles occurs because the legislatures, especially the House, are representatives of political parties, who are none other than election participants. Therefore, for the sake of legal certainty, Appendices III and IV of the Election Law in this case must be annulled. And henceforth, the electoral redistricting is left to the General Elections Commission (KPU) as an independent election organizer. In other words, the electoral redistricting authority for the DPR and the provincial DPRD should also be returned to the KPU as an independent election organizer,” he explained.
Before concluding the session, Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto announced that at the next hearing the Court would hear the House at a later date, the information of which litigants should wait from the Registrar’s Office.
Also read: Relevant Party: Electoral Redistricting Follows Principles
In the petition, the Petitioner, who challenges Article 187 paragraph (1), Article 187 paragraph (5), Article 189 paragraph (1), Article 189 paragraph (5), and Article 192 paragraph (1), argued that the preparation of electoral districts must fulfill the principles of people’s sovereignty and direct, public, free, confidential, honest, and fair elections. The Petitioner believes general elections are a means to embody popular sovereignty as enshrined in Article 1 paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution. Therefore, the preparation of electoral districts is one of the important stages at the beginning of the process of general elections. This is to ensure that representation be carried out through general elections in accordance with the principles of honest, fair, proportional, and democratic elections.
They also asserted that the preparation of electoral districts was contrary to the principles and allocation of seats for the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Provincial Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) as regulated in those norms. The main principles are equality of votes, adherence to a proportional electoral system, restriction of seat reallocation, and the formation of new electoral districts for the House and DPRD election in the New Autonomous Region. This norm regulates the number of seats and regional boundaries in an electoral district of the House election in Appendix III, but does not regulate the mechanism for forming electoral districts for new autonomous regions.
Therefore, in the petitum, the Petitioner requests that the Court grant the entire petition; declare Article 187 paragraph (1) of the Election Law unconstitutional if not interpreted as “An electoral district in an election of members of the DPR shall be a province, a regency/city, or a combination thereof whose formation was based on the provision of Article 185;” declare Article 187 paragraph (5) of the Election Law unconstitutional if not interpreted as “Electoral districts, as mentioned in paragraph (1), and available seats allocated to each district in an election of members of the DPR as mentioned in paragraph (2) shall be described in further detail by Attachment III, an inseparable part of this law” unconstitutional if not interpreted as “An electoral district as referred to in paragraph (1) and the number of available seats for each district for an election of members of DPR as referred to in paragraph (2) shall be regulated in a KPU regulation.”
Writer : Sri Pujianti/LA
Editor : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR : Tiara Agustina
Translator : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)
Translation uploaded on 10/24/2022 12:56 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.