Increasing parliamentary threshold ‘will reduce wasted votes’

Kompas – August 12, 2010
Formappi Coordinator Sebastian Salang (Tempo)
Formappi Coordinator Sebastian Salang (Tempo)

Jakarta – Concerns that if the parliamentary threshold is increased it will impact on the number of valid votes that are wasted may be excessive because it will actually reduce the number of valid votes lost.

“With an increase in the PT (parliamentary threshold) to 5 percent, for example, the number of political parties taking part in the elections will be less. The difficulty of achieving the 5 percent target will make the small political parties think twice before participating in the elections. The less political parties that take part in the elections, the fewer the valid votes that will be lost”, said parliamentary watchdog Forum of Concerned Citizens for Indonesia’s Parliament (Formappi) Coordinator Sebastian Salang on Wednesday August 11.

Concerns that increasing the parliamentary threshold to 5 percent will result in large numbers of valid votes being squandered was raised by National Mandate Party Chairperson Bima Arya Sugiarto when he spoke with Kompas yesterday. According to Sugiarto, if the parliamentary threshold is set at 5 percent, the potential number of wasted votes could be 32 million.

In the 2009 general elections, in which 38 political parties took part, only nine parties passed the parliamentary threshold, and around 19 million valid votes were wasted because people voted for the 19 parties that failed to pass the threshold and were not represented in the national parliament.

According to Salang, if the parliamentary threshold is increased to 5 percent and applied to all regions, it will be very unlikely that as many as 12 political parties take part in the elections. Accordingly, the number of wasted valid votes will not be as high as the 2009 elections.

Within the discourse that is developing at present, the three big political parties, namely the Democrat Party, the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle are indeed tending towards increasing the parliamentary threshold to 5 percent.

United Development Party Deputy General Secretary Romahurmuziy said that the proposed 5 percent increase to the parliamentary threshold is an anti-democratic move and points to the further entrenchment of an oligarchy of power. If there is indeed a desire to simplify the parties constitutionally, according to Romahurmuziy, they might was well just increased the parliamentary threshold to 10 percent as is the case in Turkey. (why)

[Translated by James Balowski.]