Court’s Political Party Ruling Leaves Winners, Losers
Political parties are greeting with mixed reactions the Constitutional Court’s revision of the elections law.
Lawmakers passed a bill believing the article that set the legislative threshold could be applied to legislative elections at all levels, but the court on Wednesday ruled it would not be fair for regional elections.
The legislative threshold — the total national vote percentage required for parties to take a seat in the House of Representatives — was set at 2.5 percent in the 2009 election, while for the upcoming 2014 election it is set at 3.5 percent. The Constitutional Court decided the threshold should be applied to national elections only.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) hailed the ruling as “a fair middle ground.”
“Even if a political party already passed the threshold [in 2009], that would not guarantee that they fare better [at the next election] with newly established parties,” PDI-P senior politician and House of Representatives deputy speaker Pramono Anung said on Thursday.
Pramono said the verdict was greatly anticipated, given the heated debate that took place during the law’s deliberation.
“What is important is that the simplification of political parties needs to proceed,” he said.
PDI-P is the third-biggest party in the House today and recent surveys suggest it could come out as winner of the 2014 elections.
United Development Party (PPP) politician Hazrul Azwar aired his disappointment, saying the ruling had tarnished hours of work deliberating the contentious law.
“We are disappointed at Mahfud [M.D.], Akil Mochtar and Hamdan [Zoelfa],” Hazrul said in reference to the top Constitutional Court judges who issued the ruling. “They were lawmakers and know very well how tough it is bargaining [during deliberation]. Where is the logic of the court?”
The court ruling came as a huge blow for smaller parties, which hoped that the 3.5 percent threshold would be scrapped by the court altogether.
Besides the threshold revision, the court ruled that all parties planning to register for the 2014 election must be verified by the General Election Commission (KPU).
“I’m dissatisfied,” said Sutiyoso, former Jakarta governor and current leader of the United Justice Indonesian Party. “Getting verified is very difficult. I’m sure there won’t be many parties that can pass the verification given the criteria.”