Simultaneous Regional Elections Lead People to Have ‘Begging Mentality’
Regional elections by the Provincial Councils (DPRD) are considered a failure because the parliamentary members are often bribed. Meanwhile, direct regional elections are held with the assumption that the massive number of people may not possibly be bribed. However, the fact proves that direct regional elections are very expensive so that simultaneous regional election is proposed to solve the problem.
In an interview with Media Umat Tabloid, a former state minister of regional autonomy Ryaas Rasyid said that direct regional elections become the basis of political transactions between the parties proposing the candidate with the heads of the regions,and prone to money politics and compromise of the nomination of regional heads with their deputies from different parties to fulfill the required supports.
The impacts this kind of election is the widespread practice of corruption among the regional heads. The former minister of interior during SBY administration, Gamawan Fauzi, once said that there have been 300 heads of regions involved in corruption cases since the implementation of the direct election system from 2005 to 2014. This is excluding the cases in the allegation of corruption cases of thousands of civil servants involving their bosses (the regional heads).
He also said that there has been a disharmony between the regional heads with their deputies during their second terms. Each of them will nominate themselves separately. When such thing happens, the division among civil servants in the area is inevitable.In the post-election, the support of civil servants become the nightmare if they don’t belong to the group of the winner. The election will lead them to their relocation in remote places or their dismissal from office.
He also explained the transaction process in the election by a party ignores the integrity and the competence of the prospectiveleaders, which result in the poor quality of leaders. It can easily be seen from a number of ‘useless’ local policies in terms of giving benefits to public, but are still maintained since they are beneficial for the regional heads to nominate in the second period.
Take for example, the policies of the distribution of social assistance in fantastic amount to be given to inappropriate targets. In some cases, this assistance leads them to jail on charges of corruption.
Another impact, he explained, is the unstable security, social unrest, and division in family relationships within the community, especially in the districts.
Meanwhile, the widespread use of money in mobilizing the supports and buying votes become the main causes of the destruction of the political culture of the people in the area. The lower layers of society are unconsciously led to have the mentality of “the beggars,” by buying and selling votes, while expecting rewards from the use of their rights.
Interestingly, some people previously punished for corruption practices may take part in the elections on the basis of equality ofhuman rights of every citizen to participate in governance. As long as their political rights are not deprived by the court, they are allowed to vote and to be elected. Based on this, even former prisoners may take part in the election to implement their political rights.
In terms of political dynasty, Constitutional Court (MK) has annulled the article in regional election law which previously prohibits the family of the incumbent to be the candidates for the next regional election.
This decision is to avoid someone from losing his right in participating in the elections only because he has family relationship with the incumbent whom he will be replaced.
In this matter, Constitutional Court does not put norm of ethics as a consideration, but simply judging from legal point of view.
Regarding a single candidate, he explained that it is to fulfill the required threshold of the election system for validity of support to have a pair of candidates of regional heads.
Besides validity requirements, there is a tendency of the incumbent candidates to collect as many parties as possible to the ranks of their supporters to guarantee victory, while preventing potential competitors to obtain candidate supporters from parties.
It is known that for very popular candidates, parties tend to be close to them to become parts of the winner.
Opportunism behavior of the parties, motivated by money to become the winner is apparent in almost all regions. If one pair of candidates gathers many supporters of parties, others will think that they cannot compete, so the rest of the parties do not dare to nominate a candidate.
According to him, the original purpose of simultaneous elections is to make the process become more efficient and less expensive because the General Election Commission (KPU) can be more focused to handle simultaneous elections than to handle elections in different time and places. However, it turns out that this election is very expensive since KPU has to allocate much more budget than the previous kind of election. (Joko Prasetyo/Riza Aulia)