Cheap Maneuvers for Third Term President

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Laila Afifa

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  • President Jokowi guides the pronouncement of the oath of office in the inauguration of members of the Interim General Election Commission (KPU) for the 2017-2022 period and Head of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) at the State Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Pool-Kompas / Wawan H Prabowo

    President Jokowi guides the pronouncement of the oath of office in the inauguration of members of the Interim General Election Commission (KPU) for the 2017-2022 period and Head of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) at the State Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Pool-Kompas / Wawan H Prabowo

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaA number of politicians in Senayan are campaigning for an extension to the presdential term limit to three terms. This is a betrayal of the 1998 reformasi spirit.

    The effort to extend the presidential term limit to three terms is a bad idea right from the start. A small number of politicians in the House of Representatives (DPR) have recently been maneuvering to peddle the idea initially suggested by political adventures outside the legislature. They have forgotten about the essence of a term limit, which is a result of the 1998 reformasi movement. This proposal would reword Article 7 of the 1945 Constitution. The amended constitution clearly states taht the president serves a five-year term and can then be elected only for one further term. This means that constitutionally the Indonesian president can only hold office for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

    This limit on presidential terms did not appear without any reason.It is a correction of a mistake in the past when presidential terms were not limited. In the New Order ear, the authoritarian and corrupt President Suharto remained in power for 32 years. Suharto only fell after failing to deal with the economic cirisis and coming under pressure from the reform movement in 1998.

    Anyone can speculate on the interests behind those campaigning for an extension to the presidential term limit. It is possible, as stated by President Joko Widodo, that they are trying to impress him or bring him down. It is also possible that they are maneuvering to preserve their power and position with all its privilages. Becaue they do not have any suitable new candidates, they are returning to the old candidate.

    Whatever the motive is, those who are pushing for an extension to the presidential term limit are clearly betraying the reform spirit. They are proviidng an opportunity for the return of authoritarianism by abusing the freedoms of democracy. The response from Jokowi that he has "no desire for" and "no interest in" a third presidential term has done nothing to dampen speculation. After all, people still remember that when he was governor of Jakarta, Jokowi said that he had never considered becoming president.

    Furthermore, an extension of the presidential term limit is outside the authrity of the president. It is held by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) through a constitutional amendment. An amendment can be made following a proposal by two thirds of the MPR membership, in a session attended by at least two thirds of the membership and approved by more than half of those present.

    The Constitution should not be amended too hastily. Constitutional amendmnts should only be an emergency response to a political crisis, such as an abnormal transfer of power. It is also important to remember that the political consensus at Senayan is moving farther awat from reflecting the opinion the people who voted for them. It is still fresh in the memory how members of the DPR colludd to revise the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law in 2019.

    To stop the maneuvers of the corrupt politicians moving towards a constitutional amendment, every right-thinking person must strongly oppose their idea.

    Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine