The election year serves as a determining factor for how well democracy is realized in Indonesia. Various challenges and issues in the conduct of previous elections have become the primary reflection in preparation for the 2024 General Election.
In response to these issues, the UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Election Corner program invited the General Election Commission to discuss the “Fisipol Leadership Forum: Opportunities and Challenges Towards the 2024 General Election” on Wednesday, August 30.
The State Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) reported that 74% of eligible voters found filling out five ballots in a single day difficult. This obstacle resulted in many invalid votes in the 2019 General Election.
Without improvements in the electoral governance system, the potential for a decline in democracy looms large.
“This year’s challenge is immense. For the first time in the history of elections, we will have simultaneous elections for members of the Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD) at the regency/city and provincial levels, the Regional Representative Council (DPD), the House of Representatives (DPR), and the President,” explained the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Dr. Wawan Mas’udi, in his opening remarks.
“Then, the following year, local elections will also be held. This means there will be numerous technical challenges in the election process.”
According to the Yogyakarta General Elections Commission Chair Hamdan Kurniawan, three main challenges for the upcoming election are hoaxes, violence, and the safety of election organizers.
“So, the first and biggest challenge is hoaxes. I’m quoting from Mafindo: out of 128 hoaxes in 2019, the majority attacked candidates and their supporters. Then, there’s the General Elections Commission with a 15.6% share,” the chair said.
“The reproduction of hoaxes will continue and pose a challenge in future elections. That’s why we must use common sense to delve into the information we receive.”
The spread of hoaxes has forced the commission to conduct re-voting in some areas of Yogyakarta. Hamdan Kurniawan believes that hoaxes will intensify on the day of the 2024 General Election.
In addition to hoaxes, violence during elections is another concern. The fanaticism of certain groups towards one candidate has been the main trigger for election-related violence in the past.
“In 2015, at least three riots erupted during campaign rallies for the election. These could involve sharp weapons, blunt objects, damage to buildings or vehicles,” the chair revealed.
“In 2019, the Yogyakarta Regional Police recorded 17 clashes between political party sympathizers and supporters of presidential candidates. The victims were election organizers. This occurred in Yogyakarta.”
In addition to violence, records from 2019 indicate cases where election organizers were at an increased risk of health complications due to high workloads.
These various challenges are believed to exacerbate the state of democracy in Indonesia, especially considering the emergence of public sentiment that often questions the credibility of election results.
“At least since the 2009 General Election, our democracy has been moving towards a flawed democracy. That’s based on data. Will the 2024 General Election lead us down the same path, or will it be better, or could our democracy die?” Politics and Government lecturer Dr. Mada Sukmajati wondered.
“Where our democracy is headed will be largely determined by stakeholders, at least three of them: election organizers, voters, and election participants, all of which are equally important.”
According to Dr. Sukmajati, if democracy in Indonesia were to die, there is a slight possibility that the country could become authoritarian.
“We should learn from what happened in America, where Donald Trump was elected as an authoritarian leader. I think this is very important so that we can direct democracy by electing leaders who tend to be non-authoritarian,” he added.