Money politics in the implementation of elections in Indonesia is a problem that continues to surface. Therefore, reform of the electoral system is seen as the most urgent agenda to tackle money politics.
This was raised at the Democracy School which lasted for 3 days in Leiden, Netherlands, and closed on Saturday (25/6/2022). The Democracy School was organized by
The Government Study Program, Diponegoro University, the Institute for Economic and Social Research, Education and Information (LP3ES), Royal Institute for Caribbean and Asian Studies, Leiden, and the Leiden Indonesian Student Association and closed with a seminar entitled “Pushing the Birth of Alternative Leaders for the 2024 Election Results”.
Dr. Hardi Suwarno, the dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Science Diponegoro University, gave a book on the reflection of 100 scholars on Indonesian democracy to the director of KITLV, Leiden
As quoted in the written statement, basically all parties agree with an election that is free from money politics, be it the most idealistic academics or the most conservative politicians. However, they are powerless to refuse because there is a situation in the form of an “informality trap”, namely a situation when politicians are worried that they will not be able to win elections without money politics.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the public must accept and even “ask for money” from politicians. This is because elections are the only opportunity for them to participate in receiving incentives from the electoral process. On the other hand, businessmen feel compelled to give money to politicians in elections because they fear that their businesses will be constrained by the policies of those in power if they don’t do so.
Didik J Rachbini, chairman of the LP3ES management board, said money politics that took place on a massive scale needed to be prevented. This was done by arresting regional heads who committed acts of corruption, starting from the district and city levels to the provincial level, by the Corruption Eradication Commission.
According to Didik, the high level of economic disparity is an obstacle to the development of democracy. Within that framework, money politics is a subsidy that flows massively to certain groups as part of political corruption.
“Entering the political environment is like the gambling arena, trapped in an informality trap. If being a member of parliament, for example, is not involved in a case at the KPK, that is already a big achievement,” said Didik.
Political parties, said Didik, are also seen as a source of corruption. Because, there was a practice of “buying and selling of candidates”, but not subject to legal sanctions. In this regard, the threshold for presidential nominations is maintained at 20 percent because political parties can control the process of selecting executive officials, such as the governor of Bank Indonesia, the chairman of the Supreme Audit Board, and the chairman of the KPK.
According to KITLV Leiden researcher, who is also a professor at the University of Amsterdam, Ward Berenschot, challenges to democracy in Indonesia still revolve around high levels of corruption, oligarchy and political parties. Some of these problems are closely related to the current electoral system.
The participants of democracy school enjoyed a coffee session after the three days of school.
Political parties, said Didik, are also seen as a source of corruption. This is because there was a practice of “buying and selling of candidates”, but no legal sanctions were imposed there.
For those who are frustrated, they may choose to take shortcuts, namely returning to the past dictator era. However, a solution should be sought for this problem, including to stop the practice of buying and selling votes in elections, one of which is by strengthening the authority and budget of the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu).
The Director of Media and Democracy at LP3ES who is also a Visiting Researcher at KITLV Leiden and a lecturer from Diponegoro University, Wijayanto, is of the view that the elections are getting closer, which only seems to be busy building coalitions and campaigning to boost popularity and electability. Meanwhile, substantive discussions about public issues are jarring