Analysts debunk claim 110 million people support election postponement

CNN Indonesia – March 12, 2022
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan – Undated (Sosok)

Jakarta – The claim that a postponement of the 2024 elections is supported by some 110 million people on social media, which was made by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has been dismissed as impossible unless there was a mark up or inflation of the data.

Quoting from 2045 Indonesian Laboratorium (Lab45), the founder of Drone Emprit and Media Kernels Indonesia, Ismail Fahmi, said that only 10,852 Twitter accounts were involved either directly or indirectly in the discussions on the president serving a third term with the majority rejecting this.

He added that out of the 18 million Twitter users in Indonesia, only around 10 thousand or 0.055 percent have been actively discussing extending the president's term.

"Yet Twitter users are the most fussy about political issues. Moreover in the case of users of other channels such as Instagram, Facebook, it would be even less. A number like 110 million this would be impossible", said Fahmi in a posting on his private Twitter account @ismailfahmi on Saturday March 12.

Fahmi conceded that the number of Facebook users in Indonesia last year reached 140 million. But nevertheless, with an assumption of 0.055 percent of active users discussing extending the president's term, then it would still mean that only 77,000 Facebook users were involved in the discussion of the issue.

"A mark up of 10x = 777 thousand. A mark up of 100× = 7.7 million. A markup of 1000x = 77 million. So it's impossible that there were 110 users actively involved in the discussion, except if the data was marked up by 1,000 times or more", he said.

Esa Unggul University political communication expert M. Jamiluddin Ritonga meanwhile has urged Pandjaitan to provide evidence of his claim that many people want the 2024 elections to be postponed.

Ritonga also touched on the findings of several survey institutions which in fact contradict Pandjaitan's claim.

Based on CNN Indonesia's records, at least four survey institutions have stated that the majority of people oppose postponing the 2024 elections or extending the president's term in office.

"LBP (Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan) shouldn’t make claims about the people's wishes", said Ritonga in a written release on Saturday.

CNN Indonesia has sought further confirmation from Pandjaitan's spokesperson Jodi Mahardi but there has been no response as of posting this article.

Earlier, Pandjaitan claimed that big data showed that 110 million people on social media support the proposal to postpone the 2024 elections and extend the president's term in office.

He also claimed that the Democrat Party, the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) support the discourse.

This is despite the fact that these three political parties have publically stated that the reject the proposal.

"If the people's [views] continue to develop what then, what then will we tell the DPR [House of Representatives] later, how about the MPR [People's Consultative Assembly], the constitution which is made [by them] must be obeyed by the president. The constitution governs the president, no matter who the president is", said Pandjaitan. (ryn/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Luhut Klaim 110 Juta Dukung Tunda Pemilu, Drone Emprit Nilai Mustahil".]