Reasons for Postponing Elections Unreasonable

The Labor Party rejected the proposal to postpone the 2024 election submitted by a number of political party officials. Labor Party President Said Iqbal said that the pretext of an unstable economy was not appropriate as a reason for postponing the election. He reasoned that the economy in 1955 and 1999 was much worse than this year. However, he said, the government at that time was still holding democratic elections.

“The Labor Party will do people power with elements of social movements. Both labor unions, farmers’ unions, fishermen’s unions, honorary teachers, Jala PRT and other elements,” said Said Iqbal in an online press conference, Wednesday (2/3/2021).

Said Iqbal added that postponing the election which would make the president’s term of office be extended violates the constitution. In the 1945 Constitution, the president can only serve two terms or 10 years.

Iqbal urged the government not to agree to this proposal. Because, the government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and the DPR has discussed and agreed on the simultaneous elections in 2024. “The faction in the DPR is an extension of political parties. Why lick their saliva after together with the government have set an election schedule,” he added.

Labor Party President Said Iqbal (center).  Photo: Labor Party

Labor Party President Said Iqbal (center). Photo: Labor Party

Dozens of election and democracy observer organizations in Indonesia also rejected the proposed postponement of the election. A researcher from the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), Kahfi Adlan, said the proposal did not start from a scientific study. Civil society is also concerned that postponing elections will threaten the democratic process and potentially lead to authoritarian leadership.

“Earlier this year the investment minister also had a chance to roll out this discourse. He said this discourse was the result of businessmen. We are worried that this discourse is not for the people,” Kahfi explained to VOA, Wednesday (2/3/2022).

Needdem gave an example of the implementation of the simultaneous regional elections in 2020 that went well in 270 regions. Participants and voters apply health protocols so that no election clusters related to COVID-19 are found. The participation rate for the simultaneous regional elections reached 76.09 percent, an increase of 7.03 percent compared to the previous elections.

Therefore, Needdem considered the proposed postponement of the 2024 election on the grounds that the COVID-19 pandemic was irrelevant. In addition, dozens of election observer organizations also urged PKB, PAN, Golkar to withdraw the proposal. In addition, they demanded President Joko Widodo to firmly reject the discourse of postponing the election.

“This is the constitutional right of the people. There are two guaranteed rights, namely the right to be elected and the right to vote. If this is not guaranteed, it will be a constitutional loss for the people,” he added.

Previously, the General Chair of the PKB Muhaimim Iskandar, the General Chair of Golkar Airlangga Hartarto, and the General Chair of PAN discussed the postponement of the election as well as the extension of the presidential term. They reasoned that economic growth in Indonesia was not stable due to the pandemic. [sm/ab]