FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

What you need to know about Indonesia’s legislative elections

What you need to know about Indonesia’s legislative elections

On Feb 14, Indonesians will head to the polls to choose not just their president, but also their elected representatives for Parliament, the regional council and legislative councils. Here is all you need to know about the legislative elections.

Q: What happens at legislative elections?

A: About 205 million Indonesians are eligible to vote for members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and Regional Representative Council – which together form the Parliament – as well as legislative councils at the provincial, regency and city levels, who will serve for the next five years.

Voters cast ballots for their choice of legislative candidates, both at national and regional levels, from a list of names nominated by political parties. The candidate with the most number of votes wins the seat.

A total of 580 seats are up for grabs in the DPR, which is the country’s national Parliament. Some 9,917 candidates from 18 political parties are contesting in 84 electoral districts for these seats.

Five of these seats are new and were added when four new provinces were created, bringing the number of Indonesia’s provinces to 38.

About 250,000 candidates are contesting for around 20,000 seats at the regional level.

Q: What does the DPR do?

A: The DPR confirms presidential appointments, deliberates and passes Bills into laws, approves the government’s annual spending budget and policies, and oversees their implementation.

Most laws are passed either by consensus or a simple majority of MPs. A president with more MPs supporting him will thus be able to push through new policies and reforms more quickly, including getting new laws and spending plans approved.

There are currently 575 MPs, of whom 471 – or 82 per cent – are from political parties that are in the coalition that supports President Joko Widodo. The remaining MPs represent the opposition camp.

Q: How do the 2024 legislative elections’ results affect the 2029 presidential election?

A: Political parties or a coalition of parties that win 20 per cent of the legislative votes in 2024 will be able to field presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the next election.

In the three-way 2024 presidential race, the current ruling party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle was the only single party that met this threshold. It is backing Mr Ganjar Pranowo.

Mr Anies Baswedan is backed by a NasDem party-led alliance, and Mr Prabowo Subianto by parties including Gerindra and Golkar.

Q: Will the Feb 14 legislative elections’ results affect who becomes president in 2024?

A: Yes, but only if the presidential election goes to a second run-off vote.

What you need to know about Indonesia’s legislative elections

Under Indonesia’s election rules, a candidate pair need a simple majority – or more than 50 per cent – of the votes to win. They also need to get at least 20 per cent of the votes across more than half of Indonesia’s 38 provinces.

If that does not happen, the top two candidate pairs will enter a run-off vote in June with the third pair eliminated.

Contenders stand a better chance at winning the run-off if they are backed by parties that did well in the legislative elections and have ostensibly received a vote of confidence from the public.

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja

The Straits Times

Asia News Network