The Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) has confirmed the presidential candidate pair Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin as the winner of the 2019 general election. The Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno presidential candidate pair did not accept the result. This continued with protest demonstrations in front of the Bawaslu Building on 21-22 May 2019. The protest demonstrations that were initially peaceful turned violent.
Jaring.id interviewed the Executive Director of the University of Indonesia (Puskapol) Center for Political Studies, Aditya Perdana, about securing general election as a whole. The following are excerpts from the interview.
How do you view the security of general election 2019 in general?
In terms of security, it was relatively under control. The important note is at the time of voting. People have different speculations, police and soldiers were considered impartial and not neutral in security.
The incident in Bawaslu was the trigger. The question is whether the police acted neutrally and professionally in their tasks and functions or were there political actors who take the opportunity? Whether the shooting, beating or burning was set, we don’t know. The (protest demonstration) should have taken place without violence.
Polarization should have been resolved through a dialogue approach, mutual consensus. Still at the end, it failed. That’s a pity.
Security needs to be improved due to the increasing political escalation?
That is the fact. The polarization support is indeed strong. The loyalty of the proponents was also strong. Security concern about polarization is a reasonable matter. They (government) must think seriously how to handle it.
How about the adolescents involved in the political escalation and riot on 21-22 May 2019?
There are a number of variables. First, family factors. In the family, there is a political socialization which will influence political choice. It’s natural (if) adolescents have their political view.
Secondly, social media. It plays role in information access with extraordinary response. Who should advise the children, it is not an simple matter.
Especially non-voting age adolescents, they would swallow any kind of information. If invited to the demo, they will take part, the responsibility should be (in) family and party (government).
I believe that their participation in the protest demonstration at Bawaslu 21-22 May was driven by their own will. Due to their curiousity or being asked by their friends (or) teachers. Attention should be paid to this matter. This is our joint homework.
In relation to the use of social media, government restricted the internet access on 21-22 May. Was it a decent step?
Restriction to internet access for security aim is a highly sensitive issue. This was the first time in Indonesia. Was not there any other possible way to be taken by the government?
As a common individual, I was so worried. One part of me is curiousity. The TV station indeed (broadcast) live, but the access is limited. The restriction also caused anxiety. The parents whose children took part whether in the peaceful or chaotic demonstration also wish to know what actually happen. I consider the government failed to take wise measures when handling the security of general election in Indonesia. The government deserves our criticism. I am afraid that Jokowi regime has an authoritative side.
Riot should have been preventable?
Logically yes, intelligence should have anticipated this. The question is why later the (riot) break out?
What should have been noticed by the police and government when securing the protest demonstration of the general election?
They set their own standards, SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), just follow them. Never think that they should act partially when handling the protest demonstration. The corridor remains legal corridor.
Joko Widodo has already met Prabowo, also Megawati. Was it to cool down the political tension in Indonesia?
The Meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo at the MRT was an initial step. If Mega and Prabowo show their intimacy as the leaders of major parties. General election is over, if we look at the message. The point is general election is over, no more reproach.
In the current context (meeting), it’s part of the negotiation. Let’s just see where it is heading to, the situation is still dynamic. Will polarization stop? In my view it’s not an easy matter. Two times general election with the same proponents, two times being defeated emotionally.
The general election is over, but many legal proceedings will start. What do you see in the event?
I presume that this will flow naturally. After the political affairs are resolved (they) will be conditionally released. This is the affair at elite (level) such as Eggi Sudjana. The problem is that (if) those detained were common people, the police may forget. However I feel that at certain point, they will be released.
The persons who became the victims in such a situation will turn out to be non-loyalist since the goal struggles will vary from the agreement at the end. Secondly, they may turn out to be hard-line loyalists. (Abdus Somad & Damar Fery Ardiyan)