The General Elections Commission (KPU) should not waste its authority to set the electoral districts and their allocation of seats in the House of Representatives and Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD).
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The authority, which has been returned by the Constitutional Court, should be used by the KPU as an opportunity to arrange the electoral districts for the House and DPRD to be more proportional, equal and in accordance with the principles of integration and cohesiveness of the regions.
The Constitutional Court returned this authority to the KPU for the 2022-2027 period because, currently, the allocation of seats and drawing of electoral districts is an attachment to the Elections Law, which is part of a joint discussion by the House and the government, thereby having the potential for conflict of interest. This authority was previous held by the KPU in the 1999 elections and the 2004 elections.
In the 2019 elections, the arrangement of the electoral districts led to significant voting value inequality. For example, one seat in East Java XI, which includes Bangkalan, Sampang, Pamekasan and Sumenep, must get at least 212,081 votes, while in the North Kalimantan electoral districts, the value of one seat is 37,616 votes.
According to an analysis of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), which submitted a judicial review to the Constitutional Court, only 17 provinces have a balance between the population and the total allocation of House seats. A total of 12 provinces have excessive representation and 5 provinces are lacking representation.
Now four new autonomous regions have been formed, namely South Papua Province, Central Papua, Papua Pegunungan and Southwest Papua. These four new autonomous regions hold a separate elections. Because of that, the arrangement of the allocation of 575 House seats in 80 electoral districts for the 2024 elections is inevitable.
Referring to the election stages, the determination of the number of seats and determination of electoral districts is from 14 Oct., 2022, to 9 Feb., 2023. The KPU needs to take advantage of the remaining time this month as well as possible.
An important note is taking into consideration that the arrangement of electoral districts and the allocation of seats is very strategic for winning elections. All political parties participating in the elections, even the many prospective members of the House and DPRD who will compete in the 2024 elections, will try as much as possible to entrust their interests with the KPU.
The interests of the old political parties, which have seats in the legislative bodies, are certainly different from new political parties that do not yet have legislative seats. Members of the House and DPRD who have nominated themselves again and have fostered their respective electoral districts for five years certainly hope for the status quo, rather than the new candidates, who have not fostered constituents in the electoral districts. This is the test for the KPU. Can it overcome intensive lobbying?
Not long ago, the professionalism and integrity of the KPU for the 2022-2027 period had raised doubt among a number of parties related to allegations of malpractice in the factual verification of documents for political parties participating in the elections. In the arrangement of electoral districts and the allocation of seats, the KPU should prove itself to be truly independent, professional and not afraid of any pressure or intervention for the realization of honest and fair elections.