Guarding Regional Elections with Integrity

Foto: Pojok Jabar
Foto: Pojok Jabar

Elections of Regional Heads and Voter Sovereignty

The simultaneous elections of regional heads (Pemilukada) will be conducted in 2018. About 171 regions will hold elections for the heads of provinces, regencies, and cities on 27 June 2018.

The Pemilukada is a means of implementing the sovereignty of the people in a direct, public, free, secret, honest, and fair manner. Pemilukada is also interpreted as a periodic and orderly mechanism of elite circulation. Therefore, Pemilukada is an important momentum to allow the rise of clean and qualified regional headswho have clear visions and agendas to answer the problems that exist in the regions.

The implementation of Pemilukada that is not consistent with applicable rules and is not well supervised has the potential of creating low quality and unqualified heads of regions. Therefore, the event of Pemilukada should be a momentum as for voter sovereignty to allow the entrance of leaders who are clean, innovative, and qualified.

The Problem of Pemilukada Integrity

Looking back at previous Pemilukada, transactional political practices seemed to be a feature in the contestations. The phenomenon of money politics occurred massively with various modes and actors in influencing voters. In addition, on the side of campaign funding sources, in addition to lack of transparency, there was also minimal accountability of sources of funds used. This is evident from the campaign funds reported to the Elections Commission (KPU) that do not reflect the substance of the campaign funds used.

In addition, the politicization of the bureaucracy and the use of public funding sources (APBD/regional budget) are also pointed out as sources of political capital for winning. This is based on the results of ICW monitoring on several elections, where there were tendencies of APBD funds and budget policies being vulnerable of utilization as a source of political capital.

Another problem that contributes to the decline of the degree of integrity is the voter. In addition to the issue of candidates who perpetuate transactional politics, on the other hand, voters tend to be permissive towards money politics. Therefore the pattern of negative mutualism symbiosis must be ended by continuing efforts of political education.

Another factor is the lack of integrity and professionalism of Pemilukada organizers. This is confirmed by a number of cases of code violations committed by the organizers and election supervisors that are resolved by the Ethics Committee of Election Organizers (DKPP).

Efforts to Guard Regional Election

Looking at the Pemilukada issues above, a serious effort to improve the quality and integrity of Pemilukada will require the following:

First, it is important for participants and candidates to put forward more ways of building electability in a more dignified manner, promoting quality figures with clear visions and program agendas for voters. Parties must support candidates who have the quality and integrity, and do not practice candidacy buying in the determination of the candidates being promoted.

Second, the role of professional and neutral organizers, both the Elections Commission (KPU) and the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) at the regional level. It is important to make a breakthrough in overseeing each stage. For example, to overcome the problems related to the illegal use of office and funding sources in Pemilukada, it is important for Bawaslu to conduct monitoring in synergy with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK).

Third, in view of the massive practice of money politics in Pemilukada, the intensity of political education for voters is important. In addition to the political education room, another important effort is to make the issue of opposing money politics as a common agenda and issueof the social movements in society.

Public involvement is important in order to ascertain whether the Pemilukada process is built on the rules and norms in effect. If the stages of the Pemilukada are conducted democratically in compliance with the norms of law, and the contestants build their electability in a fair manner, the end result will be a Pemilukada with better quality and integrity, which will lead to qualified heads of regions. (Abdullah/Agus)