Monday, November 10, 2008

The Threshold

On Monday 10 November 2008, I read an article in the Reader’s Forum of The Jakarta Post written by John Hargreaves titled: “Threshold, for who?” which refers to the stipulation of the amendment of the Presidential Law that a candidate must be supported by a political party or a coalition of political parties which obtained at least 20% seats in our Parliament i.e the People's Representative Council (DPR) or, obtained 25% of the national electorate votes.

Mr. Hargreaves said that the motive of such rule is to benefit members of the DPR by making it difficult for a potential winner of the Presidential election. This statement brings mixed feelings for us i.e. on the one hand we agree that we should not limit the chance for anyone to become candidate President, but on the other hand it is difficult to imagine the condition of a government headed by a President who does not have a strong back up from the DPR. Especially that our Constitutions stipulated that the government should cooperate with the DPR in preparing the Annual State Budget and Laws. Actually, if we want to have a strong government, the President as the head of government should be permanently supported by the majority (50% + 1%) seats in DPR. But considering the multi party system that we adopted, whereby the largest number of DPR seats obtained by political parties is only around 19% (PDIP) and 25 % (Golkar), therefore 20% would be a reasonable figure for the present moment. In a way, this kind of threshold has been applied implicitly in other countries, including the United States. It would be very difficult to imagine how George Bush will govern if the Republican Party only has 20% of the seats in the Senate and House of Representative.
Beside the threshold, the amended Law failed prohibit political party leaders from becoming a president. Such prohibition is necessary considering that a President is the TOP LEADER of our country and people. Mixing the two roles would make the President very difficult to concentrate in doing his/her duties and would also lead to conflict of interests which is inevitable.

Considering the above, I felt that the Presidential Candidates should be limited to those who are nominated by political party (ies) that obtain significant number of seats in the parliament (DPR)so that a stable government can be created. So that the elected President will be able to lead a strong & stable government.


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