Reject Abstention to Uphold Indonesian Democracy
Ahead of the 2024 elections, the public must be wary of abstentions (white groups). The invitation to abstain must be rejected because it could undermine democracy in Indonesia. When many people abstain, empty ballot papers have the potential to be manipulated and make the 2024 election dishonest.
Elections will be held in February 2024. Ahead of the elections, the public is advised not to abstain from voting. But unfortunately, even though the campaign has not yet entered the campaign period, there are already calls to abstain. The public should be aware that abstention is strictly prohibited because it could threaten democracy in Indonesia.
Abstention is always identified with being indifferent, apathetic, or unwilling to comply with political conditions. In the end, people decided not to vote / not go to the polling station to vote.
If you look at history, in this country the first abstention occurred in 1971. One afternoon, Thursday (3 June 1971), a group of students, youth and students gathered at Balai Budaja Djakarta. They proclaimed the establishment of the “White Group”. They called on people who did not want to vote for a political party to pierce the white part (the blank) among the ten existing picture signs (party logos).
Historically, abstentions used to occur because there was resistance to a certain regime. But after the reform era opened, why abstain? The proof is that Indonesia already has a healthy political climate, a strong government, and there is no coercion to choose a particular party. Therefore, the public is advised to reject abstention.
Political observer Titi Anggraini stated that abstention can reduce the quality of democracy because it reduces the opportunity for voters to influence political direction. When voter participation is low, interest groups can easily manipulate election results and achieve power without the support of the majority of society.
People are strictly prohibited from abstaining from voting because it could thwart the elections (due to low voting) and threaten the upholding of democracy in this country. The general election is an important moment in strengthening democracy in Indonesia.
Every five years, Indonesian citizens aged 17 years and over have the opportunity to actively participate in determining the future of this country through voting rights. Unfortunately, there is still an unfortunate phenomenon, namely abstention or not using voting rights in elections.
In facing the 2024 elections, it is our responsibility as sovereign citizens to reject abstention and strengthen democracy. Don’t abstain because you are skeptical about Indonesia’s future. In fact, elections are a step to advance this country and uphold democracy.
Golput directly threatens the rights of Indonesian citizens to determine the direction of the nation and state. By not using their votes, people give opportunities to forces that do not represent the public interest to take over the running of the democratic process. This can lead to inaccurate political decisions and non-inclusive policies.
President Joko Widodo stated that abstaining from voting is an attitude that is detrimental to democracy in this country. According to him, community non-participation in elections can result in the election of leaders who do not represent the aspirations of society as a whole. He urged all citizens to play an active role in the democratic process by exercising their voting rights.
In the 2019 elections, based on KPU data, there were around 29.8 million voters or around 17.5% of the total registered voters who chose to abstain. This number is also calculated by calculating the difference between the number of voters and the number of valid votes cast for candidates or political parties.
Don’t let the rate of abstentions in the 2024 election be the same as the 2019 election, or even higher. Therefore, people are strictly prohibited from abstaining from voting.
Firstly, because abstentions have a bad impact on democracy in Indonesia, and the people cannot give their aspirations to the government. Even though in a democratic country, the people have the right to regulate, by being represented by members of the DPR. Meanwhile, if you don’t elect candidates for members of the DPR, you won’t be able to build democracy in Indonesia.
Furthermore, refusing to abstain means being responsible as a citizen. Elections are the main means of expressing aspirations and electing leaders who are considered capable of advancing the country.
By not abstaining, the public shows concern for the future of the country and actively participates in the democratic process. Abstention will only benefit those parties who do not want change and have their interests protected.
In facing the 2024 elections, rejecting abstention is a concrete step to ensure that the people’s voice is heard. It is important to educate and open a wider space for dialogue for the community.
The government, educational institutions and community organizations need to work together to provide political education to society as a whole. Clear information about the election process, the role of citizens in a democratic system, as well as the vision and program of political parties and prospective leaders must be conveyed openly and transparently. This way, no one will abstain.