ASIA NEWS NETWORK
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Publication Date : 07-02-2013
There are dozens of definitions of politics, all of which are correct in so far as they represent the state of mind of the writer and the epoch in which they were coined.
When Nigerian statesman George Obiozor declared, ‚ÄúPolitics is a concentric series of conspiracies in which the last party to conspire emerges victorious,‚ÄĚ he could not have been thinking of ongoing political dynamics of Indonesia in the early 21st century.
A statement by Ahmad Mubarok, Democratic Party (PD) bigwig, that ‚Äúthe current corruption allegation against then chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party [PKS] Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq is part of an arisan [traditional savings pool], in which all of the existing political parties will get their turn [to deal with similar legal prosecution]‚ÄĚ certainly supports Obiozor‚Äôs definition.
Mubarak‚Äôs statement begs us to question who ‚Äúthe victorious last party‚ÄĚ that benefits from the ongoing political dynamics will be. To a certain extent, who will the beneficiary of these ‚Äúpolitical conspiracies‚ÄĚ be?
The allegation levelled at Luthfi is not the first ‚ÄĒ and will not be the last ‚ÄĒ of its kind. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) recently named former youth and sports minister Andi Alfian Mallarangeng, also a senior figure of the Democratic Party, a suspect in the corruption surrounding the construction of the Hambalang Sports Complex in Bogor, West Java. Jakarta Corruption Court is now trying Golkar Party lawmaker Zulkarnaen Djabar ‚ÄĒ and his son Dendy Prasetya ‚ÄĒ for their alleged roles in the notorious Koran procurement scandal at the Religious Affairs Ministry in 2011 and 2012.
The same Jakarta court sentenced 28 lawmakers from various political parties to various terms in prison for accepting bribes during the selection process of Miranda S. Goeltom as Bank Indonesia (BI) senior deputy governor in 2004. And let‚Äôs not forget the numerous ministers from previous Cabinets, affiliated with a broad spectrum of political parties, who have been convicted for corruption.
The latest survey by the Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) firm, which found that the electability of the ruling Democratic Party has sunk to a new low of 8 per cent from 32 per cent at the height of the party‚Äôs popularity back in December 2009, reveals how serious and destructive the impacts of corrupt politicians‚Äô attitude on the image of their respective political parties.
All of these convictions, allegations and suspicions against politicians and their cronies, combined with the SMRC survey, leave us no choice but to admit that nearly all political parties ‚ÄĒ particularly those already eligible for the 2014 elections ‚ÄĒ are predisposed towards corruption.
We fear voters will lose whatever trust they may have had in the parties, leaving them with no one to vote for in the upcoming elections.
Obviously that will reduce voter turnout. Voter participation in national elections declined sharply from 93 per cent in 1999 to 71 per cent in 2009 as disillusionment with politicians and the political process grew.
The declining voter turnout is obviously the last thing we want to see in a democracy.
Indonesia has been a titular democracy since August 1945, but it was not until 1998 with the introduction of reformasi and the subsequent direct elections at both national and regional levels, that we earned true democratic credentials.
Low voter participation in elections will significantly reduce the credibility of whoever wins the election. Such a possibility will become an undeniable eventuality unless big steps are taken to prevent it.
The key to our future integrity will be true prosecution of those implicated or involved in corruption. Otherwise, our long march on the winding road to democratisation will have been a wasted journey.