KPU Ignored Public Voice

KPU Mengabaikan Suara Publik
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The General Election Commission (KPU) is considered to have ignored the public's voice regarding the regulation of 30% women candidates for the DPR/DPRD in each electoral district. This consideration was delivered by experts during the hearing on the alleged violations of the election organizers' code of ethics in Case No. 110-PKE-DKPP/IX/2023.

"That the KPU has at the very least violated the principles of independence, honesty, fairness, accountability, and professionalism. Since the beginning, KPU members were aware that the regulation was not robust and contradicted public opinion," said academician Titi Anggraini from the Faculty of Law at the University of Indonesia during the hearing at the DKPP in Jakarta (September 22nd).

There has been a change to Article 8 paragraph (2) of the PKPU (General Election Commission Regulation) that was agreed upon in closed-door discussions between the DPR (House of Representatives) and the KPU (General Election Commission) and was never openly explained. Titi expressed regret over the KPU's stance of disregarding public input and only accommodating the voices of the political factions in the DPR.

"The public is the primary actor in elections and should also be served well, not just political parties," she continued.

Furthermore, Titi explained that the electoral cycle is divided into three main periods, namely pre-election, election, and post-election. During the post-election period, the KPU's task is to deliver an evaluation report to stakeholders, which also includes proposals for changes to regulations and technical electoral management for the subsequent elections."

“However, none of them proposed changes in the implementation and regulations regarding the representation of women, at least 30 percent, in the candidate lists for each electoral district that were practiced in the previous elections," said Titi.

Academician from Jayabaya University, R. Valentina Sagala, as an expert, also presented her viewpoint, explaining that the fundamental interest of every citizen is the protection of their rights as human beings. Therefore, Human Rights is the core document in modern state laws, which is also found in various globally recognized human rights instruments.

Through a long struggle, continued Valentina, in 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which for the first time specifically recognized women's human rights.

“Through the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), clear definitions regarding discrimination against women and equality are provided," said Valentina in the DKPP hearing room in Central Jakarta.

Subsequently, Indonesia ratified it through the Law Number 7 of 1984, regarding the ratification of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. According to Valentina, this law contains the principle of substantive equality, which means recognizing that women are in an unequal position and, therefore, should be treated differently to achieve equal benefits and outcomes.

"The concept of facilitating and providing special treatment to ensure equal opportunities and benefits is in line with our constitution. So, the provision of at least 30 percent women representation, as stipulated in Law No. 7 of 2017, is a real effort to attain opportunities in the field of parliament," she explained.

"In other words, the integrity and professionalism of the KPU, which should be guided by the principles of honesty, independence, fairness, accountability, and legal certainty, should not have resulted in Article 8 paragraph 2 of PKPU Number 10 of 2023," she added.

Another expert, Abdul Gaffar Karim, an academic from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (Fisipol) at Gajah Mada University, stated that the KPU is bound by political ethics in carrying out its duties and authority. According to him, the KPU serves as a channel to ensure that the concerns of civil society can reach the government and be preserved there.

“The KPU is the representation of civil society within the state domain, which should still be concerned about the ideal conduct of elections and demonstrate independence from political parties," said Gaffar.

Unfortunately, continued Gaffar, in Indonesia today, what is happening is the relationship between election organizers, state institutions, and electoral forces. The real problem lies with the State Auxiliary Agency (SAA), which distances election organizers from civil society and bring them to the middle point of the state level.

In practice, the SAA is not designed to be a channel; it only serves as a recruitment source, not a moral source. We in this room understand who represents what," said the Chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Fisipol UGM.

Recently, continued Gaffar, a militaristic tone has been growing stronger within electoral institutions. If we want to strengthen the orientation of election organizers towards civil society, we need a more fundamental restructuring related to the State Auxiliary Agency (SAA) in Indonesia."

The three experts were brought in by the complainant, a group called Koalisi Masyarakat Peduli Keterwakilan Perempuan [the Coalition of People Concerned about Women's Representation]. This coalition consists of the Secretary-General of Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia [the Indonesian Women's Coalition], Mikewati Vera Tangka; the Chair of Kalyanamitra Foundation, Listyowati; the Director of INFID, Misthohizzaman; a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia, and a member of the Indonesian Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) for the 2008-2012 period, Wirdyaningsih; and the Executive Director of the Network for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (Netgrit), Hadar Nafis Gumay.

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The defendants in the alleged violation of the code of ethics were seven members of the KPU. One member and also the chair of the KPU is Hasyim Asy'ari. The other six KPU members are Idham Holik, August Mellaz, Yulianto Sudrajat, Betty Epsilon Idroos, Parsadaan Harahap, Mochammad Afifuddin.

The seven KPU members complained to DKPP regarding alleged violations of the election organizers' code of ethics regarding errors in calculating the minimum quota of 30% of women for DPR/DPRD member candidates in Article 8 Paragraph (2) PKPU 10/2023. Through the Supreme Court (MA) Decision, this provision was proven to be in violation of Law 7/2017. Therefore, the complainant requested the DKPP to impose sanctions leading to the dismissal of these seven KPU members. []


Translated by Catherine Natalia