SBY Issues Perpu On Ballots and Voter Lists But Not Majority-Vote System
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a crucial emergency regulation, or perpu, on Thursday for the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, but failed to issue a second perpu stating that party candidates who secure the most votes automatically win seats.
Before his departure for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Thailand on Thursday, Yudhoyono issued a perpu to allow the General Elections Commission, or KPU, to amend flawed voter registration lists and to clarify the method for marking ballot papers during voting.
He did not, however, issue a regulation to support a Constitutional Court ruling striking down an article in the Election Law under which the number of votes is divided into the number of legislative seats in a given electoral district — known as a quota — rather than a majority-vote system.
The much-maligned KPU, which faces a daily barrage of criticism over botched preparations for the national polls, has been pushing the government to issue a perpu to strengthen the ruling.
Abdul Hafiz Anshary, KPU chairman, said on Friday that the commission would instead issue its own supporting regulation and brace for an expected flood of lawsuits filed by defeated candidates after the elections.
Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a former state secretary, told the House of Representatives that a regulation issued by the KPU would be legislatively weak and ineffective as a basis for implementing a new majority-vote system because the KPU lacked the authority to formulate laws. “It is the House of Representatives and the government that have the authority to issue laws — not the KPU,” said Yusril, a lawyer by profession.
He said that the KPU’s efforts to regulate the legislative election would likely be challenged in court if they were only based on its own regulations. “The court’s verdict on the majority-vote system could be taken all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.
The KPU has said that it expected the government to provide a strong legal basis for the majority-vote system through a perpu, because the KPU said that the Constitutional Court’s ruling was not clear enough for it to implement.
But Hafiz also said that the KPU became emboldened to issue its own regulation because the government had concluded that the commission was authorized to issue a regulation based on a Constitutional Court ruling.
“The court’s verdict will serve as a legal basis for KPU to issue a regulation supporting a majority-vote system,” he said. The regulation would allow parties to independently determine winners if two of their candidates won the same number of votes, he said.