Perludem Challenges Constitutionality of Simultaneous Elections Design

JAKARTA, Public Relations of the Constitutional Court�The 2019 Simultaneous Elections is still in the public spotlight. The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) also filed a material review related to Simultaneous Elections to the Constitutional Court (MK). The first session of the judicial review of Law Number 7 of 2017 on General Elections (Election Law) and Law Number 10 of 2016 concerning the Election of Governors, Regents, and Mayors into Law (Pilkada Law) for case Number 55/PUU-XVII/2019 was held in the Plenary Courtroom of the Constitutional Court, Wednesday (2/10/2019).

The Petitioner argued that Article 167 paragraph (3) and Article 347 paragraph (1) of the Election Law; Article 3 paragraph (1), Article 201 paragraph (7), and Article 201 paragraph (9) of the Pilkada Law contradict Article 22E paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution. Attorney Fadli Ramadhanil stated that the simultaneous election system with a five-box model is not in accordance with the principle of direct, public, free, confidential, honest, and fair elections. In addition, the design of the implementation of the five-box elections on the same day, he added, violate the principles of democratic elections, which are a reflection of the electoral principles in Article 22E paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

“The simultaneous elections in question are not only presidential and vice presidential election, but also at the regional level. So we propose the Election and Regional Election Laws as the object of the petition,” said Fadli before the bench chaired by Constitutional Justice I Dewa Palguna, with Constitutional Justices Wahiduddin Adams and Enny Nurbaningsih.

Fadli explained that based on the Constitutional Court Decision No. 14/PUU-XI/2013, the Court affirmed that the design of the simultaneous elections had a significant influence on the checks and balances, especially the effectiveness of the presidential system in Indonesia. However, he added, the design of the five-box elections resulted in the weak position of the president in aligning the government agendas with development agendas. This is because the regional head election is not synchronized with the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) election, while the regional head is an extension of the central government as well as the organizer of regional autonomy.

Ineffectiveness of Regional Government

Another attorney, Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati, also said that the authority and functions of the local government are not much different from the presidential government system. In the formulation of bylaws, the regional head and DPRD discuss it together to reach a mutual agreement. This is similar to the relations between the president and vice president and the parliament in the formulation of the legislation.

However, in reality this equality and effectiveness are often hindered due to the separation of regional head elections and the election of DPRD members. Khoirunnisa explained that it impacted, first, transactional politics for the short-term interests of the regional head candidates; second, the ineffectiveness of regional government because the government is formed on short-term interests only; third, weakened support for elected governors in the local election by DPRD.

“So, [as] the regional head election is separate from the DPRD election, it results the failure to realize democratic elections and regional government within the framework of regional autonomy as wide as possible to improve the welfare of the people in the regions,” Khoirunnisa explained.

Therefore, the Petitioner requested that the Court declare Article 167 paragraph (3) of the Election Law along the phrase “The voting shall be held simultaneously” contrary to the 1945 Constitution and not having binding legal force insofar as it is not interpreted “The voting shall be held simultaneously, divided into simultaneous national elections to elect the DPR, the President, and the DPD, and two years after the simultaneous national elections the regional simultaneous election is held to elect the Provincial DPRD, Regency/City DPRD, Governors, Regents, and Mayors.”

Implementation Issue

Responding to the petition, Constitutional Justice Enny stated that the Petitioner actual challenges two laws, both the Regional Election Law and its amendment. However, she did not find a complete picture of the unconstitutionality of norms that had harmed the Petitioner. She only observed the Petitioner\’s desire to shift the Court\’s stance on the simultaneous elections.

“So, in this case the Petitioner wants no more simultaneity of the DPRD election and the election of the President, DPR, and DPD because the DPRD [election] is expected to be held simultaneously with the regional election,” Justice Enny explained.

Justice Enny hopes that the Petitioner can make a clear description on a strong argument so that the Petitioner\’s petition would not only convey the impacts of simultaneous elections, such as casualties.

New Law

Meanwhile, Justice Palguna observed that the Petitioner based the petition on the assumption that the general elections (pemilu) are the same as the regional election (pilkada). So, what the Petitioner needs to understand is that impacts of the general elections resolution case, which then became part of the Court\’s authority. “The assumption of the Petitioner\’s petition can then lead to consequence of the making of a new law because it is related to many things, including the authority of the Constitutional Court,” Palguna explained.

Before closing the session, Justice Palguna informed that the Petitioner should submit the revised petition no later than Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 11:00 WIB to the Registrar\’s Office. (Sri Pujianti/LA)