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One vote to reject third presidential term

Tempo - September 12, 2022

Dewi Nurita, Imam Hamdi (Koran Tempo), Jakarta – Jokowi's stance on the presidential term extension was considered to be indecisive. The parliament declined the idea of Jokowi's third term.

Supporters of President Joko Widodo have again raised the talks of the presidential term extension to three terms. But parties in the parliament denied that the issue was being rose again, especially since the election process has been started. The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDIP), the party that endorses Jokowi, highly opposed the idea. "The constitution must be followed," said PDIP Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto to Tempo on September 4, 2022.

According to Hasto, the limitation of the presidential term is needed to maintain the process of institutionalized leadership regeneration through democratic means. "Also to remember the adage that power tends to corrupt. Therefore, the constitution must be adhered to as a basic provision," he said. "The plan will create political instability."

Those who are the most vocal in voicing Jokowi's third term are the members of Pro Jokowi (Projo). This group is known to be fanatic in supporting Jokowi, especially in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

Projo voiced the idea of Jokowi's third term at the first People's Conference (Musra) in Bandung on August 28. Besides Projo, the meeting was attended by various groups that support Jokowi. They include Relawan Buruh Sahabat Jokowi, Seknas Jokowi, Bara JP, GK Center, and Kornas Jokowi. "[We] recognize people's aspirations supporting Jokowi's third term," said the chairperson of Projo, Budi Arie Setiadi, last week.

Over 5,000 people attended the gathering. They held a poll on the presidential candidate for the 2024 Election. The result showed that Jokowi received the highest vote totaling 1,704 or 27.79 percent. After Jokowi, Sandiaga Uno came in second and was followed by Ganjar Pranowo, Prabowo Subianto, and Anies Baswedan.

In his speech during the event, Jokowi conveyed his appreciation to his supporters. He said that this was the people's forum that listens to the aspirations of the people, including the aspiration for the third presidential term. "This is the people's forum. People are allowed to voice their views right? It shouldn't be a problem if someone speaks of three terms. That is just a discourse. Anyone is allowed to state their opinion," said Jokowi at that time.

Chairperson of the National Awakening Party Jazilul Fawaid agreed that democracy cannot bar anyone to propose an idea and voicing input, including the idea of the third presidential term. However, he went on, the Constitution limits the presidential term to only two terms. "Unless there is a change in constitution or laws amendment," Jazilul remarked.

In fact, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) no longer conducts studies related to the limited amendments to the Constitution. "So the discourse of the three periods is only street talk," said the Deputy Chief of MPR.

Gerindra Party Chief Sufmi Dasco Ahmad shared the same opinion. In terms of discourses, any idea is allowed to be voiced out as there is no prohibition in doing so. "But it is clear that the political process is in the House of Representatives. The third term, until today, is not constitutionally justified," he said.

A politician at the National Mandate Party (PAN), Guspardi Gaus, also viewed that the idea of the third term had ended. Especially since the parliament decided that there is no amendment to the 1945 Constitution (UUD 45), so there is no way to extend the presidential term in the 2024 Election.

PKS Chairman Mardani Ali Sera said that Jokowi, as a president, could be assumed as the main protector of the constitution. He could also be a compass to determine the direction of this nation. Therefore, Jokowi must maintain his attitude and cannot think as if he is a free person. "It is dangerous if the president does not adhere to ethics strongly," said Mardani. "The President's statement can be interpreted as providing an opportunity for constitutional amendments."

National Democrat Party Chief Willy Aditya pointed out the attitude of George Washington, the first U.S. president. Washington, in a speech, refused assertively to run for president for the third time, while the people's support for him was very strong at that time. The speech is considered a stepping stone that saved American democracy to this day. "At the time, even the people who asked for George Washington's third term, but see the step that he took," Willy said.

The idea of the third presidential term as freedom of expression and political discourse is legitimate. But the problem would be different when it comes to the policy and political ethics. "So, we have to be able to see it differently," Willy remarked.

The deputy of the Democratic Party's Election Winning Body, Kamhar Lakumani, said that the discourse on the third presidential term shows that the scenario is always there and is running. "This is dangerous if it continues, especially for Pak Jokowi who continues to maintain this kind of thinking," he said.

Director Executive of the Indonesian Public Opinion Study and Discussion Group (Kedai Kopi), Kunto Adi Wibowo, opined that Jokowi could easily suppress the third term idea as it came from his supporters. "If Pak Jokowi doesn't do it, it's no wonder that many people then perceive that Pak Jokowi is enjoying this," he said.

Director Executive of Indonesia Political Review, Ujang Komarudin, saw that Jokowi's speech during the Musra event has double meanings. On one side, he bowed to the constitution, but on another side, he let the idea of the third term keep going. "The sentences have double meanings, bias. Jokowi seemed to be shy but maybe quietly enjoys the discourse of the third term," said Ujang.

He reminded that MPR/DPR and the majority of people have clearly rejected the idea and that the election process has been started. Jokowi must acknowledge it and follow the constitution. And that being said, the third presidential term idea must be ended so it would not create polemic. "The public is not foolish. Don't try to play with the issues that must've been ended," said Ujang. "If you obey the constitution, then [obey it], period. Or maybe Jokowi really enjoys the game rolled by their group?"

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1633166/one-vote-to-reject-third-presidential-ter