The General Election Commission [Komisi Pemilihan Umum or KPU] has set the campaign period from November 28, 2023, to February 10, 2024. According to KPU Regulation (PKPU) Number 23 of 2018, a campaign refers to the activities of election participants or other parties appointed by election participants to persuade voters by presenting the vision, mission, programs, and/or the image of the election participants. The campaign model is expected to promote a dialogical and transparent process. The understanding of a campaign and the form it takes should align with the commitment to enforce the law against campaign violations.
"Open means transparent, including in the use of campaign funds. Then, dialogical, or two-way campaigning by exchanging ideas between candidates and the public. Usually, during campaigns, it's one-way, and the public just listens. Ideally, there should be a dialogue, for example, the candidate presents their ideas and then receives input from the public and discusses them," said Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati, Executive Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perkumpulan untuk Pemilu dan Demokrasi or Perludem), during the discussion on "Idea Democracy vs. Cult of Personality Democracy: Searching for the Ideal Campaign System" on August 18th.
The polarization of presidential election participation and the masses is still something that needs to be watched out for. In the 2019 Elections, it was closely related to identity politics. Khoirunnisa emphasized that campaigning, as part of political education, should be carried out honestly, openly, and in a dialogical manner.
In the virtual discussion organized by the Public Policy Studies Institute (Lembaga Studi Kebijakan Publik or LSKP), Khoirunnisa also addressed the issue of campaign funds. She mentioned that in previous elections, the campaign fund reporting mechanism consisted of three stages. First, the Initial Campaign Fund Report (Laporan Awal Dana Kampanye or LADK), which contains the initial balance of election participants. Then, in the middle of the campaign period, there is the Campaign Fund Receipts and Contributions Report (Laporan Penerimaan dan Sumbangan Dana Kampanye or LPSDK), even though it does not cover all contributions during the campaign period, the public can find out the amount and sources of campaign fund contributions. The last stage is the Campaign Fund Receipts and Expenditures Report (Laporan Penerimaan dan Pengeluaran Dana Kampanye or LPPDK), which becomes known after the counting process is completed.
"In the draft of KPU Regulation, there is a proposal from the KPU to eliminate LPSDK. This would mean that there would only be two types of campaign fund reports, one at the beginning (LADK) and one at the end (LPPDK). This would leave voters without one of the indicators for assessing campaign fund contributors during the campaign. Hopefully, KPU does not proceed with eliminating LPSDK because it is significant for voters," stated Khoirunnisa.
Khoirunnisa added that one of the challenges in the 2024 elections is the short campaign period, which is only 75 days. This makes it difficult to act upon reports and complaints because it is argued that the official campaign period has not yet begun, and there are no official names of election participants, even though campaign spaces are already being used.
Furthermore, the lack of regulations regarding social media campaigning is also a challenge. The election law does not have specific rules for campaigning on social media; it is only mentioned as one of the campaign media.
"What can be done is to promote a more democratic digital ecosystem. So, how can we strengthen, detect, and analyze disinformation," she explained.
Moreover, Khoirunnisa mentioned that we can also strengthen the consolidation of civil society, work together to prevent election disinformation, including collaborating with other relevant parties such as KPU (General Election Commission), Bawaslu (Election Supervisory Body), Kominfo (Ministry of Communication and Information Technology), and social media platforms to share roles in preventing disinformation. This way, voters can build their resilience against election disinformation.
Member of KPU Sulawesi Selatan, Hasrudin Husaiin believes that addressing the issue of disinformation cannot be solved solely through KPU's efforts in disseminating information. It requires the involvement of other integrated stakeholders throughout the electoral process. Involving civil society is crucial for building mutual understanding and collective oversight.
“Together with the provincial government, KPU Sulsel [South Sulawesi] has held meetings to discuss campaign props, the results of which will be shared with other stakeholders," he expressed.
Hasrudin added that although KPU Regulation (PKPU) No. 15 of 2023 has outlined rules for socialization and political education within each political party before the campaign period, KPU also prohibits early political campaigning. However, he noted that issues related to campaigning still persist, and this is the case in almost all of Indonesia.
"So, mitigation efforts are carried out by KPU along with Bawaslu Sulsel through massive socialization, monitoring, and enforcement," explained Hasrudin.
From the perspective of the organizers, Hasrudin added that the issue of campaign fund reporting and the removal of LPSDK still poses a dilemma for KPU. So far, almost all political parties have not been compliant in the LPSDK reporting process.
"As a mitigation effort, KPU is urging political parties to prepare special accounts for managing campaign funds," concluded Hasrudin.
Researcher from the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at The University of Canberra, Owen Main Podger, has revealed that so far, the campaign model used in Indonesia only places candidates and voters in a buyer-seller position. He considers campaigns with banners as ineffective campaigns.
"Banners do not teach anything to the people. Candidates and parties do not learn anything from banners," said Owen.
According to Owen, what is conveyed in a campaign should serve as a reference in the regional development plans outlined in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and Regional Long-Term Development Plan (RPJP).
"Campaigns become something essential for the progress of a region. Therefore, all candidates should be more representative and genuinely dedicated to understanding the issues faced by the community," he added.
According to Owen, Indonesia has a natural democracy system, as evidenced by its unity and diversity. By learning from its own history and focusing on sustainable development plans, it can further develop its democracy.
"Through this, let's make Indonesia a trendsetting country, so that other nations can learn from Indonesia," Owen stated.
AJID FUAD MUZAKI
Translated by Catherine Natalia