Indonesia is currently entering a political year where a series of electoral agendas will be held, starting with the simultaneous Regional Head Elections (Pilkada) in June 2018 and continuing with the general election in April 2019. In these political years, political contestation, both between candidates and their supporters to win the election it will inevitably color the dynamics of national politics.
IMPARSIAL views that electoral politics is part of the mechanisms and procedures of democratic politics that can be carried out periodically in a democratic country to elect a leader as the holder of people's sovereignty. The degree of democracy of a country will be seen from the extent to which this electoral process is carried out in a free, honest and fair manner. However, it is very important for both the political elite and the general public to realize that electoral politics is not just a matter of choosing someone, but a political process that is meaningful and determines the course of government and society itself. In that context, electoral politics needs to be seen as a political opportunity and opportunity to seek and select candidates so as to produce the best leaders for the people.
Because it has such an important meaning, it is certainly important that the process of implementation and contestation in electoral politics (Pilkada and General Elections (Pemilu)) in the future must be carried out in a positive, constructive, and civilized manner so that these noble political goals can be achieved. At this point, critical and rational political reasoning needs to be put forward and used by both the candidates, their political elite supporters, and the public. The electoral contestation which is transactional and justifies all means needs to be avoided, and on the contrary what needs to be put forward is politics which is full of contestation of ideas, ideas, and the political agenda of Indonesia's development going forward.
IMPARSIAL observes that there are a number of important issues that need to be underlined and become common concerns, so that the dynamics of the upcoming electoral political contestation will not injure the noble goals of politics and can take place in a democratic, safe and peaceful manner. First, the politicization of identity through the politics of twisting hatred based on SARA (Ethnicity, Religion, Race, and Intergroup). As a country with a pluralistic society, the use of identity politicization in electoral political contestation is not only an unconstructive way of doing politics, but also dangerous for the future of democracy and Indonesia's diversity. This kind of politics, as often manifested in the form of spreading hate speech, hoaxes or fake news, either through print or electronic means, as happened in the regional elections or previous elections, is very important to avoid.
The politics of twisting hatred (hate speech, hoaxes, fake news) whether based on intolerance or because of political motives in the public sphere will foster and breed intolerance in society. Our society will be slowly pushed into primordial and closed social barriers or ties which automatically erode the basis of nationality and diversity in society which is the foundation of the establishment of the Indonesian nation-state.
The politics of twisting hatred through identity politicization (SARA) is a way of politics that must be avoided and thrown away in the contestation of power politics in the electoral process. This is very important to ensure that the electoral process and political dynamics are not only peaceful and safe, but also educational for choosing the best candidate for the leader of the people.
Second, maintaining the neutrality of the Military-Police during the electoral process. We also view that it is very important and has become a necessity for security forces (police, military, intelligence) to maintain their professionalism, both before and during the implementation of the elections in the future. Taking sides with one candidate, efforts to use the socio-political situation for other purposes, and other forms of deviation from his professionalism during the implementation of electoral politics must be prevented and avoided. The professionalism of the security forces through the realization of their independence or neutrality by focusing on maintaining security in accordance with their functions and duties is very important and necessary to ensure that the dynamics of electoral politics are democratic, safe and peaceful.
The security forces' siding with one candidate and moreover being involved in winning one of the candidates through the mobilization and use of their resources will clearly threaten the life of democracy and the security of the implementation of Pilkada.
The necessity for security actors to maintain their independence and professionalism is also emphasized in security regulations which clearly and unequivocally prohibit members of the TNI and Polri from engaging in practical political activities. The task of the TNI and Polri is to maintain national defense and security and are not oriented and functioned for politics. The statement regarding the prohibition for active members of the TNI and Polri from engaging in politics has been clearly regulated in Law No. 34/2004 concerning the Indonesian National Army and Law No. 2/2002 concerning the Indonesian National Police.
The prohibition on politics in both Army and Police Bills requires that any of the members must not to take political steps or political maneuvers before resigning if they are nominating as candidates in the Pilkada. As long as they are still active members, they will not may carry out political campaigns and other political measures.
Third, the use of money politics as a means of contestation and electoral victory. Electoral money politics is a practice that is not only politically justified but also legally. Money politics will make the electoral process run unhealthy and tend to have a transactional dimension, which not only harms democracy but also the noble goals of politics itself which will sacrifice people's welfare.
The use of money politics will further encourage the proliferation of corrupt practices and abuse of power by elected candidates. Because such politics will usually give rise to various rent-seeking practices where the elected candidate will seek compensation for the political costs that have been incurred during the electoral process. In the long term, money politics in both elections will also ultimately sacrifice the welfare of the people. Candidates elected through transactional politics are not thinking about increasing the welfare of their people, but will instead think about returning the political costs.
Fourth, it is important to keep the regional elections and future elections democratic, safe and peaceful. In this context, Imparsial emphasizes the importance of all parties, especially the security forces and the contestants, to encourage and ensure that both elections are conducted in a conducive and democratic manner. The difference in choice between contestants and voters is actually a political reality that usually occurs in every electoral politics. In this context, every effort of coercion, threats and intimidation to impose a choice must be avoided and prevented because it threatens freedom as a basic principle in an election.
However, we also realize that steps to maintain peace and security are not only the obligations of the security forces and the contestants, but also the responsibility of all elements in society. and maintain the values of peace and the spirit of tolerance during the electoral process.
From the view above, IMPARSIAL is urging:
- Political elites and society in general to avoid any attempt to politicize identity based on SARA (hate speech, hoaxes, fake news) in the Pilkada, and at the same time it is necessary to maintain and promote the values of peace and the spirit of diversity as important principles of democracy and the fundamentals of our Indonesia. ;
- The security apparatus (Police, TNI, Intelligence) must maintain and demonstrate an attitude of independence and professionalism by focusing on carrying out their respective functions and duties in a professional and accountable manner;
- Law enforcement officials must take firm action against any perpetrators of hate speech while still paying attention to and referring to human rights standards and norms to ensure human rights and diversity/diversity are guaranteed and protected;
- Bawaslu, Komnas HAM, Kompolnas among other institutions need to carry out effective supervision in the process of implementing the 2018 Pilkada.
Jakarta, January 18th, 2018
Director of Imparsial