Majority of the People Reject the President to be Elected by MPR

The results of an opinion survey from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) showed 87 percent of 1,220 respondents did not agree if the president was directly elected by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR). The results of the survey were presented by the Executive Director of SMRC, Sirojudin Abbas, which was released online under the title “National Public Attitudes towards the Amendment of the 1945 Constitution”.

This public opinion survey was held from September 15 to 21 through face-to-face or face-to-face interviews with 1,220 randomly selected respondents. The survey has a 95 percent confidence level with an error rate of 3.19 percent.

“The majority of the people also do not agree if the president is elected by the MPR. We found a majority of 87 percent of the population did not or strongly disagreed if the president was not elected by the people,” Abbas said, Friday (15/10).

Abbas explained that the survey results also show that the majority of people want a direct election system in which every citizen who has the right to vote can choose the presidential and vice presidential candidates they want.

“Only 10 percent agree and don’t know three percent,” he explained.

Executive Director of Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), Sirojudin Abbas, at the release of a public opinion survey on the National Public Attitudes towards Amendments to the 1945 Constitution. Friday, October 15, 2021. (Mouab/Anugrah)

Executive Director of Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), Sirojudin Abbas, at the release of a public opinion survey on the National Public Attitudes towards Amendments to the 1945 Constitution. Friday, October 15, 2021. (Mouab/Anugrah)

The results of this public opinion survey also show that the majority of people who reject the president being elected by the MPR even experienced an increase from May 2020 to September 2021. The idea of ​​the president being directly elected by the MPR was rejected by the majority of citizens in every party supporter and various levels of society.

“If we look at this rejection, it tends to increase from the previous 85 percent to 87 percent,” said Abbas.

The SMRC public opinion survey also highlighted the president’s term of office of more than two terms. The majority of respondents, as much as 84 percent, considered that the provision for a maximum of two presidential terms, namely five years each, must be maintained.

“Only 12 percent (of respondents) said it should be changed. There are 40 percent of the 12 percent that want to be changed to more than two times each five years,” said Abbas.

Abbas continued, of the total population who want more than two presidential terms, it fell from seven percent in the May 2020 survey to five percent in September 2021. “This means that within four months there is a decrease in support for the idea of ​​extending the presidential term,” he concluded.

The Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Andalas University (Pusako Unand), Feri Amsari, said that politicians were actually worried about direct presidential elections. The reason is that politicians often spend money when the president is elected by the people.

“I’m afraid that what many parties are worried about is that their costs (politicians) are greater than state money. Most of the party people are worried about the state’s money going out compared to their costs. Because when it comes to saving state money, there are many other things they have to do to save money, such as not going abroad to discuss the Constitution,” he said.

Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Andalas University (Pusako Unand), Feri Amsari.  Friday 15 October 2021. (Anugrah Andriansyah)

Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Andalas University (Pusako Unand), Feri Amsari. Friday 15 October 2021. (Anugrah Andriansyah)

Feri continued, there are still many ways that can be done to minimize the expenditure of state money when the presidential election is elected by the people. One of them is the unification of the results of the presidential election which often causes disputes and additional state expenditures.

“It will save the budget. Why isn’t that discussed? I’m worried that direct presidential elections will complicate things for politicians who are used to indulging in simple campaigns and ensuring a high level of electability, especially because they have big parties,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Gadjah Mada University Constitutional Law Expert, Zainal Arifin Mochtar, said that the desire to change the presidential term of office to three terms is in the interests of the political elite or institutions in the state administration.

“What I’m worried about is the institutional interest in the state administration because the MPR is desperate to make amendments,” he said. [aa/ab]

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