REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- The number of abstainers or non-voters, known locally as golput (golongan putih), in the 2019 presidential election are estimated will increase compared to the 2014 presidential election. Director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Arief Maulana explained that it was a global phenomenon.
"Voters choose to not exercise their voting right as a form of correction," Arief said at the Jakarta YLBHI Building on Wednesday.
According to Arief, it happens everywhere. Every year, based on global phenomenon data, the number of non- voters has indeed increased, including in Indonesia, he added.
He furthermore explained, that in several countries, including Indonesia, generally residents decided to be in the white group as a form of disappointment with the implementation of a democratic system. They belived that despite being wrapped up in the word 'democracy', human rights violations still occured.
"In addition, citizens' rights are not fulfilled and corruption still occurs a lot," he said.
Meanwhile, based on Indonesia's democracy index in 2018 made by The Economist Intelligence Unit or EIU, Indonesia experienced a decline of 20 ranks from rank 48 to 68.
"The decline is very sharp and it happens as the research says, that the community is not satisfied with the current democratic system," Arief said.
He explained that in the 2014 presidential election the Indonesian people felt there was a new hope. However, over the past four years the Indonesian democracy index actually declined.
"People's expectation seems to be decreasing because the candidates of 2019 presidential election were the same as the previous election," Arief said.
Indonesia will organize presidential elections on Aril 17, 2019, considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein incumbent Jokowi and Prabowo are again set to go head-to-head.
Seeking a second term, Jokowi, a furniture businessman, has picked Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, as his partner, while retired general Prabowo has chosen Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, a young and successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.
The Jokowi-Ma'ruf pair is backed by a coalition called the Working Indonesian Coalition involving nine political parties that have set up a national campaign team for Jokowi. The Prabowo-Sandiaga pair is supported by only four political parties, notably Gerindra, which is founded by Prabowo; National Mandate Party; Justice Prosperous Party; and Democratic Party established by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Presidential candidate debates are scheduled for January 17, February 17, March 17, March 30, and April 13, 2019.