Politics matters in a democratic system, where political parties groom national leaders and provide a platform to discuss issues of national importance.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) has approved 16 political parties for the 2014 legislative elections, disqualifying 18 others. It is important that political parties meet certain standards before they are allowed to contest ballots.
It might be argued that 16 political parties are still too many, especially since many of these parties lack a credible platform and are unable to attract high-caliber candidates.
Given that political parties provide the leaders of the House of Representatives, they hold the future of the nation in their hands. If they do not produce honest, capable leaders, the country’s progress and development will be jeopardized.
Many of the House members currently serving have been criticized for not living up to their promises and not delivering policies and laws that benefit the public.
There are signs that corruption is commonplace among lawmakers at all levels of government. Since October 2004, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has allowed the judiciary to take legal action on nearly 180 corrupt regional executive leaders.
Indonesia’s political landscape is dominated by a handful of large parties and a small number of medium-sized parties. It is unlikely that this scenario will change much ahead of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections.
This means that Indonesians must demand higher standards from politicians and political parties. It is time we move away from celebrity politicians and elect people who have the capacity and the passion to serve in public office. The 16 political parties approved by the KPU must be held to these standards.