Only Indonesia’s Top 3 Parties Must Get Presidential Picks: NasDem
The fledgling National Democrat Party has proposed scrapping the presidential threshold as a means of determining which parties can nominate presidential candidates, saying instead that only the top three parties in the legislative election should qualify.
Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, head of the elections team at the party known as NasDem, argued on Monday that the presence of a threshold would continue to fuel the political horse-trading that often sees disparate parties join forces in order to meet the requirement for nominating a president.
“No matter if the threshold is 15 percent, 20 percent or whatever, it will always provide justification for parties to barter their support,” he said. “That’s why we’re calling for the threshold system to be scrapped altogether.”
Under the current system, only parties or coalitions that win a combined minimum of 20 percent of votes in the legislative elections may nominate a candidate to run in the subsequent presidential election.
Ferry said that to simplify the process and end the political back room deals, NasDem was proposing that only the top three parties from the legislative elections should be allowed to nominate presidential candidates.
He suggested that other parties would be allowed to back the top three, but not allowed to name their own picks.
“If our recommendation is accommodated, we hope it can also be implemented at the regional level, so that only the top three parties in a given region will be allowed to nominate candidates for mayor, district head or governor,” Ferry said.
The proposal has been welcomed by the Golkar Party, the party currently polling as the favorite to come out on top in the 2014 legislative elections.
“The idea [to scrap the threshold] is in line with Golkar’s own proposals raised since the 2004 elections,” said Nurul Arifin, a Golkar deputy secretary general.
A poll of 1,200 people in June by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) showed that 20.9 percent of respondents would vote for Golkar, ahead of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 14 percent and the ruling Democratic Party with 11.3 percent.
Although NasDem’s proposal would still see the same three parties nominating presidential candidates in 2014 as in 2009, some analysts believe that the new party could break into the top three within the next two years at the expense of either the waning Democrats or the stagnant PDI-P.
The proposal, however, has not sat well with smaller parties like the National Mandate Party (PAN), which is intent on nominating its chairman, Hatta Rajasa, for president in 2014.
Bima Arya Sugiarto, chairman of the PAN’s executive board, said that if anything, more parties should be allowed to nominate a candidate, and proposed lowering the threshold to 15 percent.