Members of the General Elections Commission (KPU) 2012-2017 period will end their term of office on 12 April 2017. However, until now the Commission II of the House of Representatives (DPR), which among other things oversees home affairs and regional autonomy as well as the General Election, has not carried out fit and proper tests on candidate members of the commission for 2017-2022 period. In fact, 14 names have been submitted by the President to the Parliament on February 1, 2017.

Several reasons related to the delay of the fit and proper test have emerged. One of them is because the House has to wait for the completion of the discussion of the Draft Bills on elections. The government through the Ministry of the Home Affairs, Tjahyo Kumolo is optimistic that the law on election can be completed at the end of April 2017 as now it has come to the final stages of discussion.

Moreover, lately there has been a discourse to include members of political parties to become commissioners of the General Election Commission (KPU). The discourse was expressed by Deputy Chairman of the Special Committee on Election Yandri Susanto. He refers to the membership of General Election Commission in Germany which consists of eight people from political parties, and two judges to oversee any legal issues.

If the General Election Commission (KPU) consists of members from political parties, how is the neutrality of the Commission which is a state agency established to organize the elections?

If we look at the past, at the beginning of its formation in 1999, the members of the KPU consists of 48 representatives of the political parties contesting the 1999 elections, plus five representatives from the government. The commission was also led by representatives of political parties, namely Rudini, representing the Party of the Mutual Cooperation Council Kinship.

Such a condition has made the performance of the Commission full of every party’s political interests. This was clearly seen during the process until the determination of the results of the vote count, discussion of merging the rest of the votes, and the determination of the elected Parliament candidates.

The political parties which were disappointed because of gaining minimum votes repeatedly forced the Commission to hold meetings which ended without result. The meetings were only full of debates. As a result, the determination of the election results by the Commission was repeatedly delayed. The slow performance of the commission sparked political uncertainty and consequently worsened the economic conditions at that time.

The experience has become a lesson for the government and parliament. A year after the 1999 general election, the government and the House agreed to revise the Electoral Law and made the Commission as an independent and non-partisan institution. It means there are no longer members of the party and government’s representatives in the General Election Commission (KPU).

If the KPU consists of representatives of political party, it is a setback and will affect the neutrality of the election organizer body in Indonesia. Besides, it is of course contradictory to Article 22E Paragraph 5 of 1945 Constitutions which states the general elections are organized by an Election Commission (KPU), which is national, permanent and independent. The decision of the Constitutional Court (MK) on January 4, 2012 also states that the KPU commissioner candidates must be free from political party membership for five years to maintain the independence and neutrality of the Commission.

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