The Government Takes the KPU Hostage Regarding the 2024 Election Schedule

In determining the election schedule, which was originally set for February 21, 2024, the KPU was considered to have gone through the process according to the rules. Inputs and notes from political parties through their representatives in Commission II of the DPR, the Ministry of Home Affairs representing the government, academics and representatives of civil organizations, have been heard. Researchers from Needdem, Heroik Pratama said, thus the KPU has the full authority to determine the voting schedule.

“To further emphasize the attitude of the KPU as an independent institution, the KPU has actually provided enough space for public participation, including the participation of political parties, to provide notes and input on the current design. Actually, the KPU can directly determine the election schedule,” said Heroik.

He conveyed this urge in a discussion organized by the Center for Constitutional Studies (PUSaKO), Andalas University, West Sumatra, Tuesday (12/10). The discussion was held to address the uncertainty of the 2024 election schedule, due to changes in the government’s attitude.

The KPU, the government and the DPR previously agreed that the 2024 General Election would be held on February 21, 2024. The results of the vote, apart from being related to the presidency, were also used as the basis for nominating regional heads. Simultaneous elections will then be held on November 27, 2024.

Unexpectedly, in early October at a meeting in Bogor, the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed a new schedule. The government wants the general election to be held on May 15, 2024, while the simultaneous local elections will remain on the original schedule. The KPU rejected this new plan, and instead came up with two options. First, stick to the original schedule that has been agreed upon. The second option, if the General Election is held on May 15, 2024, the KPU proposes that the Pilkada be held simultaneously on February 19, 2025.

Heroik reminded that the KPU should not hesitate to make firm decisions and show its independence.

Researchers from Perludem, Heroik Pratama.(Mouab)

Researchers from Perludem, Heroik Pratama.(Mouab)

“What is regulated in the institutional design, is regulated in the constitution, in our Election Law, even in the decision of the Constitutional Court. It’s up to the KPU itself to decide when the election will be held,” said Heroik.

There is an analysis that the KPU does not dare to be firm because of the budget factor. However, the KPU can only work if there is a budget, and the DPR and the government hold the key. But Heroik reminded that the budget issue for the KPU is the realization of Indonesia’s commitment as a democratic country.

“There is no country that claims to be democratic, but does not have elections.

Elections are the only instrument for open and participatory leadership rotation. So there are consequences there, namely the budget,” he continued.

KPU Hostage to Budget?

In line with Heroik, Violla Reininda from the Constitutional and Democracy Initiative institution, also assessed that there was a smell of budget problems related to the KPU’s attitude that it had not yet determined the election schedule.

Viollae suspects that there could be political pressure, both from the DPR and the government, to come up with an agreement and understanding regarding the election schedule. The trouble is, this scheduling formulation must be agreed upon by each party. In accordance with their authority, the DPR and the government may use the election budget for this date-setting process.

Violla Reininda Plt.  Chair of the Constitution and Democracy Initiative.  (Mouab)

Violla Reininda Plt. Chair of the Constitution and Democracy Initiative. (Mouab)

“Because after all, although the KPU has the authority to determine the schedule, but the budget issues that use the APBN will return to the approval of the government and also the DPR,” said Violla.

The Commission deserves to be worried. If there is no one vote regarding the election schedule, it could have implications for election budgeting. If drawn further, this condition has the potential to hamper or burden the organizers of the 2024 General Election and Regional Head Elections themselves. Therefore, all parties are now waiting for the KPU’s firm stance.

“Indeed, the KPU needs to show that it has a bargaining position in determining the election schedule,” said Violla.

One thing that is important, whichever schedule is chosen, the KPU must ensure that this political contestation is fair for all parties. Violla reminded that the schedule for February and November 2024, which had been agreed upon earlier, appeared with many considerations. KPU, he said, had set a date with a comprehensive simulation process.

The atmosphere of the real count at the KPU office, Jakarta, February 15, 2017 (Photo: Mouab/Agus).

The atmosphere of the direct vote count (Real Count) at the KPU office, Jakarta, February 15, 2017 (Photo: Mouab/Agus).

Another factor that may become a problem is that the KPU commissioner’s term of office will soon end. Again, the initial selection of new commissioners will be carried out by a team formed by the government. The final selection is being carried out by the DPR. That is, if the old commissioner were to run again, then this process would certainly be a consideration for him to act.

“It is best to put aside the interests of “attracting” the DPR or the government. What must be the focus of the KPU at this time, is how to firmly state that this is a more appropriate schedule, to support the holding of the General Election and Regional Head Election in 2024,” added Violla.

Violla reminded that the KPU’s decision on the schedule would be related to the burden of the institution itself in holding the 2024 simultaneous General Election and Regional Head Election.

The sooner the better

PUSaKO researcher Ikhbal Gusri said that the rule of law does require the KPU to consult with the DPR and the government through a Hearing Meeting. However, in principle, the KPU should not be influenced by interests outside the affairs of the election implementation in determining the schedule. Although it must be admitted, of course there is a political agenda that will push its interests to the KPU.

“In the 2016 MK decision number 92, regarding the review of Law 10/2016, the nature of the results of the consultation between the KPU, the government and the DPR, should not be forced on the KPU. The final determination of the implementation of the election schedule remains with the KPU, and must not be influenced by interests outside the interests of organizing the election,” said Ikhbal.

PUSaKO researcher, Ikhbal Gusri. (Mouab)

PUSaKO researcher, Ikhbal Gusri. (Mouab)

The KPU must be sure, because according to the Election Law, they are the sole agency authorized to determine the schedule and stages of holding the General Election, through KPU regulations.

Ikhbal reminded that the proposal to change the election schedule which could have an impact on the simultaneous Pilkada schedule was not a simple matter. If the KPU decides to postpone the election schedule to 2025, then there must be a revision of the Pilkada Law. On the other hand, the government could also issue a Perpu.

“We want the deadlock regarding the determination of the election schedule to be ended. Because the sooner the election schedule is set, the faster the KPU will prepare. I am sure that the implementation of the general election will also get better,” said Ikhbal. [ns/ab]

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