Parliamentary Threshold Serves to Simplify the Party System
Image

Chief Justice Suhartoyo and Deputy Chief Justice Saldi Isra chairing a judicial review hearing of the provision on parliamentary threshold, Monday (11/20/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.


JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court (MK) held another judicial review hearing on parliamentary threshold for the seat allocation of members of the House of Representatives (DPR) as regulated in Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections (Election Law) on Tuesday, November 17, 2023. The agenda of the hearing was to hear the Government’s testimony for two cases: No. 116/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) and No. 124/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by the Ummat Party.

At the hearing presided over by Chief Justice Suhartoyo along with seven constitutional justices, on behalf of the Government, head of the Domestic Policy Strategy Agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs Yusharto Huntoyungo said that the parliamentary threshold is an instrument to decrease the number of political parties in the parliament to simplify the party system to create a stable political condition. “Parliamentary threshold can improve the parliament’s performance. When there is an increase in the percentage of the parliamentary threshold, faction members are motivated to be more optimal in realizing the aspirations of the community,” he said.

The Government believes that the most important reason in simplifying political parties is to protect democracy from negativity, i.e. the inability to create government ideas from and for the citizens, where the citizens are the beneficiaries.

“The simplification of political parties with parliamentary threshold is not contrary to democracy and human rights, especially the right of association, assembly, and expression. Political parties are a tool to support democracy. Therefore, the number of political parties cannot be the only measure to assess whether a country is democratic or not,” he said.

Therefore, Yusharto said, the parliamentary threshold regulation does not cause injustice for election participants or decrease the citizens’ representation in parliament as voters. The Government believes the implementation of the parliamentary threshold serves to increase efficiency in governance because political parties in parliament are well-supported by the community, as evidenced by the votes or seats they obtained through election.

Yusharto also mentioned that the parliamentary threshold serves to improve political parties’ functions, so they will implement all of their functions to improve their quality, which in turn will trigger the citizens to support the qualified political parties. They will produce competent members who have integrity, so that their policies can realize the people’s aspirations to promote welfare.

The Government believes that the parliamentary threshold in the Election Law is a step that should be implemented in realizing a direct, public, free, confidential, honest, and fair election as stipulated in Article 22E paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution and give legal certainty for the House’s (DPR) candidates because it helps them maximize their vision and mission to realize social welfare and the people as voters will be able to know the integrity, professionalism, and accountability of the candidates.

“Intensive and extensive talks were held in the formulation of Law No. 7 of 2017 to determine the parliamentary threshold, and it was agreed that the threshold should at least be four percent of the number of national valid votes to be considered for the seats of DPR members. This also happened during disputes on the proportional electoral system, the allotment of seats per electoral district, and the procedure for converting votes to seats. Legislators want to streamline the party structure in parliament so that, with the threshold setting process, parliamentary performance improves and government stability is achieved,” Yusharto stressed.

The Government also asserted that even if the law being reviewed in the a quo petition is different, the substance is no different from that in the norm already ruled by the Court, particularly on the parliamentary threshold for the House’s membership. The Court has emphasized its stance that it is related to the politics of party simplification by stating that it is an open legal policy that is legitimate as long as it does not conflict with popular sovereignty, political rights, and rationality.

Also read:

Perludem Challenges Parliamentary Threshold

Perludem Revises Petition on Parliamentary Threshold

The case No. 116/PUU-XXI/2023 was filed by the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), who questions the phrase “at least 4% (four percent) of the total national number of valid votes” in Article 414 paragraph (1) of the Election Law, which reads, “A political party contesting in a legislative election must reach the electoral threshold, which is 4% (four percent) of the national number of valid votes, in order to be included in the seat allocation for DPR members.”

At the preliminary hearing, the Petitioner’s legal counsel Fadli Ramadanil argued that the parliamentary threshold is one of the important variables of the electoral system that will have a direct impact on the conversion of votes into seats.

The Petitioner asserted that the provision of the parliamentary threshold should be associated with Article 168 paragraph (2) of the Election Law, which stipulates that elections to elect members of the House, both at the provincial and regency/city levels, shall be conducted with the open-list proportional system.

The Petitioner believes one of the things that determines whether the election results are proportional or not is the 4% parliamentary threshold, which is one of the variables of the electoral system. Therefore, in the provisional petitum, the Petitioner asks the Court to declare the phrase “at least 4% (four percent) of the total national number of valid votes” in Article 414 paragraph (1) of the Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding insofar as it is not interpreted as “Political parties participating in the election must meet threshold that is determined based on rational calculations and carried out openly, honestly, and fairly in accordance with the principles of a proportional electoral system.”

In addition, the Petitioner requests the Court to order the President and the House of Representatives as the legislatures to immediately make revisions to the provision of parliamentary threshold in the Election Law by formulating the figure based on rational calculations openly, honestly, and fairly in accordance with the principles of a proportional electoral system.

Also read:

Ummat Party Challenges Parliamentary Threshold

Ummat Party Affirms Petition on Parliamentary Threshold

Ummat Party’s central executive board, represented by Ridho Ramhadi (chairman) and A. Muhajir (secretary-general), petitions Article 414 paragraph (1) of Law No. 7 of 2017 of the Election Law in case No. 124/PUU-XXI/2023.

At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, October 10, legal counsel Muhammad Yuntri questioned the 4% threshold set for the DPR seats in the current Election Law. One of the Petitioner’s legal counsels Muhammad Yuntri said that the parliamentary thresholds set for the previous elections were 2% in 1999; and 3% for DPR and 4% for Provincial DPRD in the 2004 Election, in which 24 political parties participated. Meanwhile, in the 2009 Election, which was based on Law No. 10 of 2008 on General Elections of Members of DPR and DPRD, the threshold was 2.5% of the total number of national valid votes.

The Petitioner argues that the threshold for political parties to be included in the allocation of the DPR seat as stipulated in Article 414 paragraph (1) of the Election Law is not only based on the acquisition of national valid votes. They believe that the accumulation of DPR seat acquisition of all electoral districts (dapil) must also be included since the “price” for a seat in electoral districts outside of the Java Island is lower than that inside Java. This system is another form of fair guarantee for a more proportional election as mandated by the Constitution.

Therefore, the Ummat Party requests the Court to declare Article 414 paragraph (1) of Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding if not interpreted as, “A political party contesting in an election must reach the electoral threshold, which is 4% (four percent) of the national number of valid votes or 4% (four percent) of the number of DPR seats, in order to be included in the seat allocation for DPR members.” 

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Nyi Mas Laras Nur Inten Kemalasari/Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

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.


Monday, November 20, 2023 | 17:01 WIB 439