maaf email atau password anda salah

The High Price of Our Legislative Seats

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Prospective legislators need to spend large amounts of money to garner votes in increasingly transactional elections. A simpler system is needed.

arsip tempo : 172142439025.

The High Price of Our Legislative Seats. tempo : 172142439025.

HIGH political costs in general elections in Indonesia are a chronic problem for which a solution must be found. The need for funds to garner votes in increasingly transactional elections means less opportunity for quality legislators to be elected. Conversely, there is an increasing possibility of corruption from elected candidates keen to recover their ‘investment’ as quickly as possible.

In the last few years, there have been many complaints about the high political costs that have to be paid by prospective legislators in an open list proportional electoral system. In the 2024 elections, there were signs that the amounts needed were even higher. Golkar politician Dito Ariotedjo said he paid out more than Rp10 billion. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Masinton Pasaribu said he spent Rp6 billion on printing campaign literature alone. And even after all this, both politicians failed to be elected to the House of Representatives (DPR).

Dito and Masinton are just two examples of the 9,917 DPR candidates vying for votes. They came from 18 political parties and contested in 84 electoral areas across Indonesia. There were also candidates for provincial, regional and municipal legislative councils and the Regional Representatives Council. As well as the need for campaign attributes such as banners and flags, large amounts of funds were allocated for ‘envelopes’ to be given to prospective voters, alias money politics.

The amounts mentioned by Dito and Masinton far exceed the funding requirements in previous elections. According to the University of Indonesia Economics and Society Research Institute, in 2014, prospective DPR members had to spend Rp1.1 to 4.46 billion. Meanwhile, a study by the Corruption Eradication Commission found that prospective legislators had to pay out amounts ranging from Rp1 billion to more than Rp5 billion.

These funding requirements were reflected in the flows of money. The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) identified suspicious financial transactions from more than 6,000 accounts belonging to managers of parties contesting the 2024 elections or prospective legislators. These irregular transactions are a sign of possible money politics during the campaign. The total funding detected by the PPATK amounted to Rp51.4 trillion. One indication was the billions of rupiah paid into the accounts of party managers, not long after exchanged for Rp20,000 and Rp50,000 bills.

The huge amounts of money needed during the campaign might well lead to corruption on the part of elected candidates. The many corruption cases that have come to light in the last few years reinforce this suspicion. Party activists embezzled state funds to meet personal or party needs. This tendency became even more apparent with the allocation of ‘lucrative jobs’ for parties joining the government coalition.

In the long term, high political costs will make it more difficult for people of high quality but who do not have access to funds to join the political arena. As a result, the DPR, which determines the future of the people through the laws it passes, will be made-up of mediocre politicians backed by large amounts of capital.

Now the task for the future is to bring about an electoral system that is simple but that produces quality legislators. Although it will be difficult, this work must start immediately.

More Articles

More exclusive contents

  • July 15, 2024

  • July 8, 2024

  • July 1, 2024

  • June 24, 2024

Independent journalism needs public support. By subscribing to Tempo, you will contribute to our ongoing efforts to produce accurate, in-depth and reliable information. We believe that you and everyone else can make all the right decisions if you receive correct and complete information. For this reason, since its establishment on March 6, 1971, Tempo has been and will always be committed to hard-hitting investigative journalism. For the public and the Republic.

Login Subscribe