The quality of political parties is reduced without factual verification

Hakim Mahkamah Konstitusi (MK), Anwar Usman saat membacakan putusan terkait verifikasi partai politik calon peserta pemilu. (Foto: tangakapan layar sidang daring MK)

The verdict by the Indonesian Constitutional Court (MK) to trim the verification procedures of political parties participating in the election may risk reducing the quality of political parties. For now, the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) will no longer be able to factually verify the completeness of the political party administration and its membership down to the regions.

In fact, according to election researcher from the Network for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (Netgrit), Hadar Nafis Gumay, the previous political party verification procedure was useful to ensure the quality of political parties. A quality political party, he said, could be judged by the complete management and membership support.

“If it is not factually verified, we will only rely on documents which are only assumed to be true. Though not necessarily. Documents may exist, but the facts are not certain. That cannot be proven, ”said Hadar when contacted by Jaring.id, Friday, May 7, 2021.

The Verdict of the Constitutional Court Number 55 / PUU-XVIII / 2020 regarding Material Review of Article 173 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 7 of 2017 concerning General Elections of the 1945 Constitution Act has changed the verification procedure for political parties participating in the election.

Previously, all political parties were required to be administratively and factually verified, currently, not all political parties have to follow these two types of verification. The Political Parties which pass the parliamentary threshold just only need to undergo administrative verification.  While administrative and factual verification applies only to parties that do not pass the threshold, new political parties, including political parties only had representation at the level of the Regional Representatives Council.

In Hadar’s opinion, the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the verification of political parties was inconsistent. Because the Constitutional Court in verdict Number 53 / PUU-XV / 2017 previously stated that all election candidate candidates must be factually verified. “The Constitutional Court will no longer see the election will be rechecked, both parties running in elections or already in parliament,” he said.

Therefore, Hadar warned the Commission of Election to work more thoroughly and deeply, especially the political parties who had just checked administratively. Because what is shown in the document does not always necessarily represent the reality on the ground. Hadar hopes that the Commission of Election will also be more transparent in providing space for public participation in order to contribute check the documents that have been submitted by political parties. “The Commission must follow the rules, but it should be a maximum of verifying administratively. Work optimally with the measuring instrument,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati thinks that the Constitutional Court judge has ruled out overlooked the dynamic conditions experienced by each political party. “In order for it to be fair, all election participants must have the same start. Since there are dynamic conditions. Suppose there are areas of expansion and dynamic membership, “said Khoirunnisa as quoted from the site Perludem.org.

Deputy General Chairperson (Waketum) of the Central Executive Board (DPP) of the National Awakening Party (PKB) Jazilul Fawaid or more familiarly called Gus Jazil considered the Constitutional Court’s decision to be very wise. “If the political parties that have passed the parliamentary threshold have to do factual verification, it will consume a large amount of budget. If you have to verify factual again, is that state money really made that way? Budget out. And for several years it has been proven that the political parties that have passed the Parliamentary Threshold ​have definitely passed the verification,” he said as quoted from the PKB official website, on Friday, May 7, 2021.

In his opinion, the Election Commission only needs to ask each political party about the list of their management. “If you have to verify factual again, it wasting time. That’s why it is very wise that the Constitutional Court’s decision for parties that have passed the Parliamentary Threshold will no longer have factual verification, only administration,” he said.

Previously, the Constitutional Court granted part of the judicial review submitted by the Indonesian Change Movement Party (Garuda Party) related to the verification of political parties as candidates for election participants. This party requested that the Court interpret Article 173 paragraph (1) of Law No. 7 of 2017 concerning elections. The party led by Ahmad Ridha Sabana requested the Constitutional Court to ensure that parties that have passed the verification to become election participants do not need to take part in General Election Commission verification in the next election. “Passing the applicant’s request in part,” said Chief Justice Anwar Usman read out the verdict, on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

According to the Court, political parties that have passed the 2019 Election verification and passed the parliamentary threshold in the 2019 Election just need verifying administration only. While the political parties that did not pass the threshold of parliament and the party that only has representation in parliament level provincial / district/city should be verified back, either administrative or factually. “This is the same as the provisions that apply to new political parties,” said Anwar.

In determining this case, the Constitutional Court judges’ votes were not unanimous. Three judges expressed different views (dissenting opinion), namely Saldi Isra, Suhartoyo and Enny Nurbaningsih. Saldi assessed that the petition was intended to delegitimize the previous Constitutional Court decision, namely Number 53 of 2017 concerning the Review of the Election Law. In this verdict, the Constitutional Court stated that political parties’ candidate which participating in the elections must follow the verification to simplify the number of political parties participating in the elections. According to Saldi, the decision was part of an effort to strengthen the presidential government system. “The Court should not have eliminated the requirement to verify political parties that seek to participate in the elections,” said Saldi.

This reason is used by the petitioner to argue for the re-examination of Article 173 (1) of the Election Law. According to the Garuda Party, the aim of reducing the number of political parties is no longer relevant because currently, more political parties are participating in the last election than in the 2014 election.

However, in Saldi’s opinion, the verification procedure is still useful for ensuring the performance of political parties down to the regional level. “Verification can strengthen the preparation of political parties’ candidate to participate in elections,” said Saldi. In addition, according to Saldi, political parties participating in the elections should be treated equally. “All forms of discrimination that because unfairness must be eliminated,” he asserts.

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