INDONESIA: Parliament represents less than half the people

“The number of voters represented by the nine political parties that obtained seats in the national House of Representatives (DPR) following the 2009 legislative elections is less that who are not represented.” Kompas, November 13, 2009

James Balowski from the APSN website has translated and circulated the following KOMPAS newspaper article. For more background to this issue see my series of articles on the Indonesian election. Click here for the first one (Gap between elite and people widens as Indonesian elections approach). Others can be found in the INDONESIAN POLITICS section of the pages menu in the right hand sidebar of this blog, e.g.

Anti-neoliberal demagogery fails to enliven elections; Indonesian elections allow militarists into the game; It’s a cult of personality among candidates who have no personality; No surprises in Presidential elections

The Kompas article:

House represents less than 50 percent of voting population

Kompas – November 13, 2009

Jakarta — “The number of voters represented by the nine political parties that obtained seats in the national House of Representatives (DPR) following the 2009 legislative elections is less that who are not represented.”

This was revealed by former General Election Commission (KPU) Deputy Chair
Ramlan Surbakti during a discussion titled “Evaluating the Integrity of the 2009
Election Results” in Jakarta on Thursday November 12.

The number of voters registered for legislative elections by the KPU in November
2009 was 171.27 million. However the number of votes represented by the nine
political parties with seats in the DPR is only 85.05 million people or 49.66
percent. The remainder, 86.22 million voters, is not represented by the 560
members of the DPR.

The number of unrepresented voters is based on the 49.68 million registered
voters who did not use their right to vote and the 17.49 million voters who did
vote, but whose vote was declared invalid, plus 19.05 million voters who cast a
valid vote but the parties they voted for did not obtain a seat because they
failed to reach the electoral threshold (parliamentary threshold) to get into
parliament.

Surbakti added that the number of citizens not represented by the parties in the
parliament would be even greater if the number of people who were entitled to
vote but were not registered are included. This would swell further if the total
number of “ghost” voters on the electoral list were also counted.

University of Indonesia political science lecturer Andrinof Chaniago said that
the low level of representation in the DPR has resulted in legislators having no
roots in society. It is this situation that has triggered a discrepancy between
the DPR’s attitudes and the wishes of broader society, as has occurred in a
number of recent cases. The DPR often runs away from the demands of the people
they represent.

Those elected to the DPR, who have no roots in society, are the result of an
elitist electoral system that functions in the name of the people, yet, in
reality, the members of the DPR are not one with the ordinary people. (MZW)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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