From “Serangan Fajar” to “Golongan Putih”: 2014 Indonesia Elections

The Linmas, community protection officers, distribute ballot boxes to polling stations in Banyurojo Village, Magelang Regency.

The Linmas, community protection officers, distribute ballot boxes to polling stations in Banyurojo Village, Magelang Regency.

By: Sahrudinalwaysmagelang@gmail.com

THE 3th world’s biggest elections starts today, April 9.

More than 185 million eligible voters will have an equal opportunity to cast a ballot at over 550,000 polling stations.

Fifteen parties are contesting in the year’s Indonesia parliamentary election, down from the 44 that participated five years ago, 48 in 2004 and 24 political parties in 1999 election.

The parties that win the most seats in the House of Representatives (DPR RI) will be able to support their candidates for presidential elections in July 9.

In total, 235,637 legislative candidates will vie for nearly 19,699 positions across the country of more than 17,500 islands.

They are lawmakers candidates for the House and the regional representatives council (DPD RI), as well as provincial (DPRD Provinsi) and local assemblies (DPRD Kota/Kabupaten).

KPU, the government-appointed election commission, have certified 56 survey institutions, including 46 exit poll organizations to perform election-related surveys and the quick counts.

The results of the election will be released by those pollsters two hours after the polls close. But it will take up to a month before official results are published.

Bawaslu, the government-appointed election watchdog, are responsible for investigating any allegations of electoral fraud which may occur. What are common types of elections frauds in Indonesia?

One among them, and this probably the most popular is “serangan fajar”, literally means dawn attack. It is referring to the practice of vote-buying just hours before balloting take place. “Serangan fajar” often covered up as social assistance to community groups.

Voting is a right, it is not an obligation. Therefore, not make a choice is the choice itself!

Voting is a right, it is not an obligation. Therefore, not make a choice is the choice itself!

Voting is a right, it is not an obligation. That’s why, some people choose to skip the polls in election after election. In Indonesia, this is called “golput” that stands for “golongan putih”, literally white groups.

Yes, “golput” means abstention! “Golput” in the election has various reasons.

But in my opinion, public disappointment with the performance of both government and parliament was a significant influencing factor on the high quantity of abstention. Most legislative members sided with government, not the people. Corruption spread rapidly among lawmakers and political elites and high ranking law enforcement officials.

As a result, people become politically apathetic. Therefore, nobody can blame, moreover criminalized the “golputters”. “Not make a choice is the choice itself”, a friend of mine once said.

The fact, “golput” rate has been constantly on the rise from one election to another in the post-New Order era. The KPU data show that about 10.4 percent of eligible voters made no choice in the 1999 election.

The abstention percentage increased by more than twofold in 2004 election, where 23.3 percent in the legislative election and 22.4 percent “golput” in the presidential election. In 2009 legislative election, the number of absentee got bigger to 29.01 percent and 27.8 percent for the presidential election.

And today, everyone will be the witnesses, do the participation rate of the election increase or vice versa?***

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