The Executive Director of Political Indicators, Burhanuddin Muhtadi, said that 55 percent of the public and 69 percent of the elite considered that the 1945 Constitution was not yet amended. Meanwhile, the public who agreed to the amendment were 18.8 percent and the elite 28.1 percent. The public who did not answer were 26.2 percent and the elite 2.9 percent.
The initial survey involved 1,220 respondents who were interviewed on 2-7 September 2021 with an error rate of approximately 2.9 percent. Meanwhile, the elite (national and regional opinion leaders) interviewed were 313 people on September 1-30 2021.
“So they view the 1945 Constitution as not a holy book, meaning that it can be amended. But when the survey was conducted, the elites were more conclusive in saying that it was not the time for amendments to be made,” explained Burhanuddin in an online discussion, Wednesday (14/10).
Burhanuddin added that the public who rejected the amendment held the view that the 1945 Constitution was in accordance with the conditions of the nation and was still suitable for use. This is not much different from the elite who refuse to think that there is no urgent need to make amendments and that the 1945 Constitution is good.
However, if it is necessary to make amendments again, most of the elite and the public are of the view that changes to the 1945 Constitution are carried out against certain articles or rules as needed. However, there are quite a lot of people who think that it cannot be done on one article only because it is interrelated with other articles.
“Seventy percent of our public said the MPR should carry out its duties if the amendments were made. But we must first hear the public’s voice,” he added.
Disagree with President Elected by MPR
The survey results also show that the majority of citizens or 82.1 percent believe that the president is directly responsible to the people because the president is elected by the people. In addition, the majority of citizens and elites do not agree with the opinion that the presidential election is carried out by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR).
The majority of the elite consider the MPR to be a state institution whose position is equal to the President. While the public seems more divided, around 45.8 percent consider the MPR to be equal to the president and 40.4 percent consider the MPR to be above the president.
Discourse on Amendment to the 1945 Constitution, Issues Among Elites
Constitutional law expert Bivitri Susanti said the discourse on amendments to the 1945 Constitution was an elite issue and did not come from the community. He said the conditions for the amendment to the 1945 Constitution were easily fulfilled by a coalition of government political parties. Because the need for votes to include the amendment agenda in the MPR is only 237 votes. Meanwhile, the need for votes to hold a meeting was 474 votes.
The total coalition of the majority parties reached 469 votes, meaning that it only needed a few additional votes from the DPD for this amendment to take place.
“We need to worry about this math, because in August the next annual session. Suddenly we can get together and say okay, let’s start the agenda,” explained Bivitri.
Bivitri asked politicians not to get hung up on the mathematical calculations required for the amendment to the 1945 Constitution. However, he urged politicians to listen to people’s aspirations regarding this amendment discourse.
Bivitri also said that amendments to the 1945 Constitution were usually followed by extraordinary political events. Such as the 1999 reform and the 1949 Constitution of the United States of Indonesia. Similar conditions also occurred in other countries such as Thailand which underwent constitutional changes after democratization and a military coup.
“There is no urgency for an amendment in the near future, so the MPR’s efforts to seek an amendment before 2024 must be rejected,” added Bivitri. (sm/em)