Limitation of political rights in the form of parliamentary threshold is a normal practice in general elections that adopt proportional system. In Indonesia, post-reform elections from time to time have changing parliamentary and electoral thresholds. Elections 1999 without a parliamentary threshold produced 3.55% votes being lost. Elections 2004 with a 3% threshold produced 17.33% while Elections 2009 with a 2.5% threshold generated 18.31%.
“If compared with theory of optimal representational threshold that is formulated by Taagepera, the 2.5% threshold is already beyond the optimal threshold,” said Sunny Ummul Firdaus, S.H., M.H., on Monday (30/5) during her doctoral promotion at Faculty of Law UGM.
The lecturer from Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) in Surakarta said the bigger the threshold, the bigger the votes being lost. This makes many votes unrepresented, which is contradicting Article 1 Paragraph 2 of State Guidelines 1945 saying that Sovereignty lies in the hands of the citizens and are implemented based on the State Guidelines.
“The constitutional reason is that the lost votes mean disappearance of the people’s right in elections. This right is actually guaranteed by the Constitution in the form of equal position in the law and government affairs,” she said.
Defending her dissertation entitled Limitation of Political Right in Democracy System in Indonesia, Sunny revealed the high percentage of parliamentary threshold and electoral threshold that are enforced have caused the big number of votes being lost. This made the election results unproportional as these do not represent the real votes.
“This may cause the failure in running a democratic practice,” she maintained.
Sunny hoped in the future political right limitations through parliamentary threshold and electoral threshold would be adjusted to the democratic system in Indonesia, using rationality that minimises lost votes. In her opinion, drafting of regulations should not establish the percentage of parliamentary threshold and electoral threshold on too high deviation away from the representational rationality figures.
“Regulation drafting has to meet the right and obligation of all citizens for the right to vote and be voted by taking into account the culture and diversity of Indonesian society,” she concluded.