Guarding Mandates from the People

Guarding Mandates from the People

Dr. Gun Gun Heryanto, M.Si.

Dean of the Faculty of Da'wah and Communication Sciences of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta

Today, the people of Indonesia have decided who will lead this nation for the next five years.

It is not a simple choice, because it involves a lot of consideration and a series of stages full of sacrifices, both mental, physical, and financial.

Data from quick counts and exit polls from several institutions showed that the number 2 pair, Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka, was ahead of the number 1 pair, Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar, and the number 3 pair, Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD. Quick count data also shows that the election will only go one round.

However, interpreting the election is certainly not only a quantitative dimension such as the number of quick count results, but also needs to look at qualitative aspects such as the substance of democracy that takes place in the stages of the election, including voting.

Interpreting quick counts

The requirement for a one-round presidential election is clearly stated in Article 416 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 7/2017 on Elections.

Elected candidates are those who receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the presidential election, with at least 20 percent of the vote in each province spread across more than half of Indonesia's provinces. Indonesia has 38 provinces, so "more than half" means at least 20 provinces. The number of Permanent Voters List (DPT) for the 2024 elections refers to KPU data, totaling 204,807,222 voters.

"Elections must strengthen democracy, not reinforce systemic damage due to the absence of effective control."

The release of Kompas fast count data until 21.21 WIB, Wednesday, February 14, showed Anies-Muhaimin's vote of 25.10 percent, Prabowo-Gibran 58.73 percent, and Ganjar-Mahfud 16.17 percent, with data entered at that time reaching 88.45 percent.

This quick count uses 2,000 samples of polling stations (TPS) selected based on the DPT population spread across 38 provinces. Data from a number of other institutions such as the Indonesian Political Indicator, Poltracking, the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) Denny JA, the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), and the Cyrus Network quick count version showed that the Prabowo-Gibran pair was superior and the election took place in one round. The exit poll results of a number of institutions also showed the superiority of this pair.

Should we respect the results of quick counts and exit polls? Of course, as products of scientific methods, they should be respected, especially when referring to various previous election experiences. The release of quick counts is usually not too different from the KPU's real count.

Referring to the stages of the 2024 Election, after the vote count is carried out on Wednesday-Thursday (February 14-15), we will enter the recapitulation stage of the vote count results (February 15 to March 20, 2024).

The determination of election results without a dispute over election results is no later than three days after the KPU receives a notification letter from the Constitutional Court (MK). Meanwhile, the determination of election results with a request for a dispute over election results is no later than three days after the Constitutional Court's decision.

Quick count is a method of estimating election results with random polling station observation objects. Data does not come from respondents' perceptions. Quick counts can provide an overview of predictions of election results so that they can be used as comparative data, including detecting the possibility of fraud in vote recapitulation.

While the exit poll method, the object of observation is voters who have cast their votes and are willing to be sampled. This method is usually used to predict vote acquisition during elections, mapping voter support patterns related to parties, presidential candidates, and identifying various issues that arise.

In the 2024 elections, quick counts and exit polls have been regulated in Article 449 of Law Number 7/2017 on Elections. Article 449 Paragraph (3) states that parties carrying out quick counts of election results are required to register with the KPU no later than 30 days before voting. It is also emphasized in Article 449 Paragraph (4) that the results of the quick count are not the official results of the election organizers or KPU.

"Power must be limited, not to become someone's absolute ownership."

Observing the process

We should look at the electoral process not only by numbers, but also by the quality of the process in its implementation, especially in the voting stage that has taken place in a number of regions, including overseas polling stations.

Therefore, the presidential-vice-presidential pairs and their success teams who were declared superior by a number of institutions that released quick counts and exit polls, should not do excessive glorification before the determination of the winner by the KPU. Currently, our society is still at a boiling point, along with the fragmentation of choices in the three candidate pairs. Expectations and disappointments are intertwined so that they can trigger tensions that must be anticipated by all parties by exercising restraint and reminding each other.

From a communication perspective, the days after the voting until the determination of the winner by the KPU are the ones to watch out for because they often present the phenomenon of relational dialectics.

This term refers to Leslie Baxter, in his writing A Dialectical Perspective of Communication Strategies in Relationship Development (1988). In short, relational dialectics is a node of contradiction in interpersonal relationships, which is filled with interactions that are constantly antagonistic.

The phenomenon is characterized by conflict between individuals. Usually, tensions and conflicts arise and intensify when one person imposes his or her will on another.

During the campaign period, we can see that the expression of support for each candidate pair is overwhelming and forms a winning expectation for each candidate championed.

This situation can create cognitive dissonance. This term was introduced by Leon Festinger in his old book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957). Festinger defines it as a person's feeling of discomfort caused by inconsistent attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors and motivates a person to take steps to reduce this discomfort.

One of the things that can cause dissonance is the logic it builds about who will win. For example, a voter believes that the candidate they support will win, but in reality they lose. This logical inconsistency is what makes voters will look for ways to reduce anxiety, uncertainty, and discomfort due to the difference between what they expect and the perceived reality.

The superiority of the quick count version obtained by the couple fighting in the presidential election must also be examined first.

Is the process at the election stage really clean from things that can damage the democratic order itself. We should not close our eyes to practices that have the potential to reduce substantial democracy, because they prioritize the procedural side.

Referring to Michel Foucault in a book edited by Colin Gordon, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977 (1980), power is often understood as the capacity of an agent to impose his will or the will of a powerless other. The ability to force others to do things they do not want to do. In this context, power is positioned as ownership.

"We should not turn a blind eye to practices that have the potential to reduce substantial democracy, because they prioritize the procedural side."

Power must be limited, it cannot becomes someone's absolute possession. Whoever has power that is too deep and widespread uses the instruments of power at his disposal to achieve and maintain power - either through himself or other figures affiliated with him - slowly but surely makes power has become ownership.

Elections will not present an equal playing field. The impact is that the level of competitiveness will not be realized, both in terms of regulation, process, and governance; and will certainly affect the final results of the election.

There is still time for parties who feel aggrieved to take the channel provided by democracy, namely the legal process. However, legal mechanisms are far more civilized than expressions of anger that trigger violence, chaos, which can damage Indonesia.

Of course, we must also note that the Constitutional Court must maintain the dignity of this institution by acting fairly, impartially and proportionally.

The five-year elite circulation through the election mechanism will have a broad impact on many aspects of this nation's life.

Vilfredo Pareto in his writing, The Circulation of the Elite (in William D Perdue, 1986), explains that elite circulation is always reciprocal and has mutual interdependence. If one part is damaged, it will disrupt the system in other parts.

Elections should strengthen democracy, not reinforce the systemic damage caused by the absence of effective control. However, elections will never satisfy all parties.

Therefore, those who lose must be prepared to become a controlling force, instead of negotiating and sharing in the future. The mandate of the people's vote must be guarded!

Let the winners form the government, but the defeated parties should consolidate themselves into a balancing force. Again, the ideal is often marginalized by the reality of coalitions that are vulnerable and often change partners based on the interests of sharing power.

The author is Executive Director of The Political Literacy Institute, Lecturer in Political Communication and Dean of FDIKOM UIN Syarif Hidayatullah.

This article was published at ( on 16/2/2024 05:00 WIB)