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Anti-corruption theme: Who dares to take up the challenge?
Publication Date : 02-09-2013
The five-yearly general elections the legislative and presidential are less than a year away. Unfortunately, however, none of the 12 national political parties eligible to contest next year’s elections have explicitly promoted bold campaign themes, unlike the candidates in previous general elections did.
It is true that the campaign period has not started yet. But, that was not the case in the previous elections, when political parties, especially those topping the race, had publicly launched their campaign themes before the “starting bullet” that marks the start of the campaign period was fired.
And as history has noted, explicit, straight-to-the-point and bold campaign themes were among the key factors, along with strong and effective political machinery, which had boosted the achievements of certain political parties in the elections.
The perfect example of how effective and bold campaign strategies and themes taken by the Democratic Party (PD) in the 2004 and 2009 general elections was a determinant factor in winning the general elections. As a newcomer to the political scene in the 2004 elections, PD did an excellent job in luring voters, not only to merely vote for the party, but most importantly to help make it the “significant winner”.
Although it only came in fifth in the 2004 legislative election, its strategy to combine the charisma of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono largely believed to have been popular among women and the middle class and the daring anti-corruption campaign theme while using the momentum of the Indonesian people’s anger toward rampant corruption combined with the establishment of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) a year earlier, eventually helped Yudhoyono to become the first person in Indonesia to win the presidential election in his first attempt.
The same strategy was taken by PD in the 2009 general elections. It was a perfect victory for the party as it grabbed both titles winning the legislative election and keeping Yudhoyono in the top executive post.
To the frustration of the Indonesian people, particularly those who voted for the party, PD’s successful participation in the last two general elections was not followed by equal success in the country’s fight against corruption a sharp contrast to its bold campaign theme.
There have indeed been corrupters prosecuted and convicted in the last nine years, but all the anticorruption campaigns have generally failed to eradicate corruption and make potential corrupters wary of committing such wrongdoings, as more and more people have continued to be prosecuted and convicted for corruption. Worse is the fact that a number of PD executives, including
those who have been recruited as “actors” in the party’s anti-corruption television campaign ads, had been implicated and convicted of the exact crime.
The moral of the story is that the political parties contesting the elections, perhaps not all of them, have repeatedly exploited voters in their ambition of winning or acquiring significant votes in the elections. To put it simply, the parties “have cheated” voters for their own benefit.
Cheating in elections has basically affected two major groups in the society: the middle and elite classes, and those in the low-income bracket.
The first group has and will likely continue to become victims of campaign themes boasted by leaders or executives of the contesting political parties, while the second has been and will likely again be targeted by the party leaders and executives as mere “seasonal voters” in a sense that their votes are only needed during the elections and will soon be neglected and even ignored once the elections are over and the political parties have already had their members seated in the legislative bodies such as the House of Representatives (DPR), the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), and provincial, regent/mayoral legislative councils (DPRD) or elected as top government officials at both national and regional levels (executive posts from president down to regent/mayor).
While the first group has apparently been cheated in that they might have voted for a certain political party after they had been amazed by the programmes and the campaign themes offered by the party, but who later found out that many, if not all of the programmes and campaign promises were not fulfilled; the second group might not have realized or did not care at all that they had been cheated by the contesting political parties as they were more concerned about what they could gain from the political parties in return for the votes they had cast.
It has now become too often that voters from both groups had become victims of “election frauds” committed by the contesting political parties. It is high time for voters to take lessons from past fraudulent organization of the general elections and not to repeat the same mistake this time.