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Guard Clean Elections Without Identity Politics

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By: Ahmad Dzul Ilmi Muis)*

All parties must participate in guarding the continuity of a clean 2024 election without identity politics. The reason is that this is very detrimental to the democratic climate in Indonesia and is also capable of causing divisions in society.

Discussion of identity politics is still a new issue in Indonesia. Although basically these aspects have been around for a long time, the effects they left behind have only been felt recently. Especially when the form of identity politics is used as a venue for mass gathering by stakeholders. In this case, political elites use ethnic, religious, racial and ethnic similarities to gain support from the community.

I still remember the political events that occurred in 2017 when the Governor election (Pilgub) took place in DKI Jakarta. It turns out that the practice of identity politics has indeed had a great effect. How could it not be, because the impact of the use of identity politics continued into the 2019 presidential election.

In that year, there were indeed many issues that developed in the public, which were very nuanced in identity politics, mainly these issues continued to develop and spread widely through social media. Of course, if left alone, it will be very dangerous because it can lead to public opinion.

The existence of the phenomenon of identity politics with religious populism will become a mine for state democracy when it is used by incompetent leaders. Identity politics will lead to public opinion that people who don’t have the same identity as them don’t deserve to be leaders. This of course causes minorities to lose equal rights in state government, especially in the realm of elections and elections. And it is feared that it will gradually injure democracy.

Since the 2017 DKI Jakarta gubernatorial election, the use of the issue of identity politics has begun to be used frequently in order to seek support for votes. Many hoaxes and hate speech with SARA content are shown to a pair of candidates or individual candidates, with the hope that political opponents will lose public support. The problem is, when these issues reach prospective voters who do not have enough knowledge and are easily influenced, it is very likely that these candidates from the minority will lose the people’s appreciation. Even if the candidate’s career track and achievements are qualified enough to become a leader or representative of the people.

Because it is very dangerous and threatens the democratic climate that exists in Indonesia, the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) invites Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) to work together in preventing the politicization of identity in the implementation of the upcoming 2024 elections.

Regarding the collaboration between Bawaslu and NU, the Chairperson of Bawaslu, Rahmat Bagja stated that the holding of the democratic party for the upcoming 2024 election must be carried out in a clean manner, primarily free from the practice of identity politics.

What’s more, so far the practice of identity politics has only been used to support the practical political interests of certain groups who have an interest in being able to gain a lot of votes. Not only avoiding identity politics, but he admits that it is also very important to be able to maintain the continuity of the 2024 Election from the practice of money politics.

With the holy month of Ramadan as it is now, don’t let places of worship become an arena for conducting campaigns. This includes not allowing the use of any political party attributes in places of worship.

Bagja then explained that in the future, the Bawaslu will cooperate with the community to carry out a number of movements, even from small-level communities such as the existence of a citizen forum through the involvement of PBNU officials, city districts to the province in helping efforts to counteract the practice of identity politicization and money politics.

Furthermore, according to the Bawaslu chairman, contestation in elections should be an arena for clashing ideas, and this should be a competition to be able to convince the public by going through the many programs and visions and missions of the party that must be continuously fought for, instead of offering certain issues that must be addressed. regarding SARA.

Meanwhile, Chairman of PBNU KH Yahya Cholil Staquf or who is familiarly called Gus Yahya explained that the politicization of identity can cause divisions in society. According to him, identity politics is only a tool for competitors or political actors to cover up their shortcomings.

He firmly considers that the practice of identity politics is a fraud attempt by election participants to the public. How could it not be, the article is that elections should be a place for ideas and arguments to clash, but instead they are used to politicize identity and there is absolutely nothing else to offer such as certain ideas.

For this reason, he asked the Bawaslu to make a strong narrative about anti-politicization of identity. Apart from that, Gus Yahya also emphasized that PBNU is ready to work with Bawaslu in order to make peaceful elections without identity politics.

Identity politics is a very dirty thing and completely inconsistent with how ideal elections should be. When the election arena is actually filled with many issues related to SARA, then of course this will further cause divisions in society. For this reason, all parties must participate in overseeing a clean 2024 election without identity politics.

)* The author is an alumnus of FISIP Unair 

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