Members of the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR), Indonesia’s parliamentary body, have begun openly campaigning in preparation for the 2024 legislative election. Despite both the Covid-19 pandemic and the election still being two years away, some political parties have begun establishing their presence for the big event by putting up billboards. That being said, let’s take a look at the realistic chances of each party as of August 2021.
The most recent revision of the Election Law in 2019 introduced a 4% parliamentary threshold in order for a political party to gain a seat in Parliament. In other words, a political party would have to grab a minimum of 4% of the total votes cast nationwide to secure seats at all. This number has crept up since the system was first implemented in 2009. That year, a requirement of 2.5% was set, and it was increased to 3.5% in 2014. Of the nine parties currently seated in Senayan, four seem poised for reelection based on recent polling data:
The top contenders
Continuing their performance from the 2014 and 2019 elections, PDIP, President Jokowi’s party, appears to be maintaining a stronghold in the race despite the decline in support over time. There are several factors that can explain this decline. The first may be voters’ dissatisfaction from the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the Jokowi administration. The second, and arguably more influential, factor is the fact that Jokowi himself is about to finish his second and final term, leading to an open seat election without an incumbent president or political party. This would spur other parties to strategically deploy their resources, financial or otherwise, to capture some of PDIP’s voters.
PDIP is closely followed by the Gerindra Party, which is chaired by leading presidential candidate and Defense Minister Prabowo. As another influential party, the Golkar Party, led by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, has also safely remained above the 4% threshold. On the flip side, as the opposition party, the Democratic Party seems to be steadily gaining more support after performing poorly in 2020. The party backed by former president Yudhoyono’s family has now even exceeded the 4% threshold by a comfortable margin. But what about the rest?
Parties at risk of not securing a seat
Five other political parties present in the 2019-24 Parliament — NasDem, PKS, PAN, PKB and PPP — have been performing poorly in the polls, raising doubts about their prospects for the 2024 election. Other than NasDem, the four parties all share a common characteristic. These four parties all incorporate Islam into their party ideology. Although two Islamist parties in particular, PKB and PKS, are performing relatively well compared to the others, data suggests that they are struggling to maintain their momentum in the polls as their own support is beginning to decline.
The outlook is more discouraging with the other Islamist parties, namely PAN and PPP. With Muslims making up a significant 87.2% of Indonesia’s population, one might expect that Islam as a political ideology to be a more dominant force in the country’s Parliament. Broadly speaking however, historically Islamist parties have been fragmented in the political sphere. This trend continues even today. Most recently, Amien Rais, who was one of the key figures who founded PAN in 1998, broke away from the party in 2020 and created another party we now see in the polls, Ummat Party. Unless there is a way for a certain party to win over the people or merge themselves to garner more votes, the upcoming election may bring out an unsatisfactory outcome for these parties.
Nevertheless, with the election still two years away, circumstances may evolve well outside of our expectations. We will have to wait and see.