Garuda, Nasdem Support Open-List Proportional System

Munathsir Mustaman representing Garuda Party as a Relevant Party at the material judicial review hearing of the Election Law No. 7 of 2017 for case No. 114/PUU-XX/2022, Thursday (2/16/2023). Photo by MKRI/Bayu.

Thursday, February 16, 2023 | 12:48 WIB

JAKARTA (MKRI) — A return to the closed-list proportional system for electing members of the DPR (House of Representatives) and DPRD (Regional Legislative Council) in the 2024 Simultaneous Election would mean a setback in politics because the people would not be directly voting for candidates as they have in the last few elections, but for candidates appointed by political parties as was the practice before the 2009 Election.

This statement was made by Munathsir Mustaman on behalf of the Garuda Party as a Relevant Party in case No. 114/PUU-XX/2022 at a hearing on Thursday, February 16, 2023 in the Constitutional Court’s (MK) plenary courtroom. At the material judicial review hearing of Article 168 paragraph (2) of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections, Chief Justice Anwar Usman and the other seven constitutional justices  heard the Garuda Party and the National Democratic Party (Nasdem).

Munathsir explained that the closed-list proportional system would results in legislative members-elect who the people are not familiar with, as they are appointed by political parties. They could be appointed due to close relations, money politics, or kinship with party leadership, which could lead to political dynasties and oligarchy where state powers are hold by a small group of people.

He also argued that the closed-list system would lead to a logical consequence that the House and DPRD members do not have strong popular legitimacy, thus do not have a strong basis for supporting the people’s interests. They would potentially cater to the interests of party leadership when, in fact, what must be achieved is harmony between party sovereignty and people’s sovereignty.

He also said the current open-list system is based on the Election Law and in line with the constitutional mandate and the mandate of the Reform, since legislative members are directly elected by the people. Openness and freedom for the people to choose their representatives in legislatures reflect public participation and mature political movement.

“Therefore, there is closeness between the people as voters and the legislative members who they vote for. Therefore, based on the aforementioned elaboration, [Garuda Party] believes the Petitioners’ petition is legally groundless, so the Court should reject the petition in its entirety or at least dismiss it,” he said.

Nasdem Does Not Acknowledge Petitioners

Meanwhile, Nasdem’s Deputy Secretary-General for Public Policy and Strategic Issues Hermawi Taslim, represented by Risky Dewi Ambarwati, asserted the party’s interest in the substance of the petition as a Relevant Party, which could impact their constitutional rights. “One of the Petitioners of the a quo petition, Yuwono Pintadi (Petitioner IV), used his [affiliation to] Nasdem as a petitioner,” Risky said.

She asserted that the Petitioner in question is not the party’s member, since his name is not listed. The party’s DPP has issued a circular letter to all party members regarding mandatory renewal of membership, which previously ended in 2019.

“Without renewal, [a member] is considered having quit. Yuwono Pintadi’s action in filing the a qup petition does not represent Nasdem’s stance,” she said.

Risky added that Nasdem supports the open-list proportional system in the 2024 legislative election. Any debate on the system should have ended after the Court handed down a ruling in 2008 (Decisions No. 22-24PUU-VI/2008 on the judicial review of Article 14 of Law No. 10 of 2008 on the Election of DPR, DPRD, and DPD members), which have changed the system from the closed-list to the open-list with majority votes.

“The emergence of the open-list proportional system began with the granting of judicial review petition on Article 14 of Law No. 10 of 2008 by the Constitutional Court. The article was seen as unconstitutional since it contrasted with the meaning of people sovereignty and justice as referred to in Article 28 paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution,” she said.

She asserted that the Constitutional Court, as the institution authorized to interpret the 1945 Constitution, was of the opinion that the goal of the implementation of the people’s sovereignty as the basis of the Constitution determined the assessment of voting rights. Voters have a significant role in the election to determine legislative candidates, so that they would compete for public support.

She added that the open-list proportional system is a progress of democracy, an antithesis of the closed-list proportional system implemented in the Old and New Order. “[…] the a quo petition essentially requests the return to the closed-list proportional system, a regression of democracy,” she emphasized.

Nasdem believes the open-list proportional system to be the ideal democratic practice as it allows for people from any social background to be involved in electoral politics. “Through this system, citizens can participate in politics through political parties. The democratic process in Indonesia has been developing from era to era, but only fixing weaknesses should be done,” Risky stressed.

Also read:

Open Proportional System in Election Challenged

Party Members Affirm Background of Petition on Election Law

Open-List Proportional System Allows Freedom to Choose Representatives

Relevant Party Explains Proportional System in Election

The petition was filed by Demas Brian Wicaksono (an executive of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle or PDI-P), Yuwono Pintadi (a member of the National Democratic Party or Nasdem), Fahrurrozi, Ibnu Rachman Jaya, Riyanto, and Nono Marijono. They challenge Article 168 paragraph (2), Article 342 paragraph (2), Article 353 paragraph (1) letter b, Article 386 paragraph (2) letter b, Article 420 letters c and d, Article 422, Article 424 paragraph (2), and Article 426 paragraph (3) of the Election Law.

At the preliminary hearing on Wednesday, November 23, the Petitioners argued that the norms, relating to the proportional representation based on majority votes has been misused by popular pragmatic electoral candidates without ideological connection, political party affiliation, and experience in managing any political party organization or socio-politics-based organizations. As a result, when elected as members of the House of Representatives (DPR) or the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD), they tend to act for their own interest instead of representing their part. As such, there should be a party authority that determines who is eligible to become a party representative in parliament after attending political training.

In addition, the Petitioners asserted, the a quo articles have cultivated individualism among politicians, resulting in internal conflicts within the parties. This is because the proportional representation is seen to have resulted in political liberalism or free competition that prioritizes individual victory in elections. This competition should instead exist among political parties because election participants are affiliated with political parties, not individuals, as stated in Article 22E paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution.

The Petitioners were harmed because these articles regulated the system for determining elected candidates based on the majority votes because it had made elections costs excessive and led to complex issues, such as unhealthy competition between candidates because it encourages candidates to commit fraud by bribing election organizers. Therefore, he added, if those articles were annulled, it would reduce vote buying and lead to clean, honest, and fair elections. In addition, the proportional representation based on majority votes is costly and hurt the state budget, for example for the printing of ballots for the election of the House, provincial and regency/city DPRD. They also requested in their petitum that the Court declare the word ‘open’ in Article 168 paragraph (2) of the Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding.

Writer        : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Tiara Agustina
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 2/17/2023 14:45 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.

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