Narrowing The Gap Between Affirmative Action and Administration: Study on The Application of Affirmative Policy on Political Parties’ DPP Structure

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Political parties play a central role in a democratic political system because of their function and capacity in conducting regular and peaceful political recruitment processes. Political recruitment is prerequisite to the dynamics of political elite circulation in both legislative and executive institutions. This publication shows the result of a study conducted by Cakra Wikara Indonesia (CWI) research team on the implementation of affirmative policies in the structure of the Central Executive Board (DPP) of political parties. The analysis was conducted on numerical data on the number of DPP personnel within nine political parties that won seats in the national legislature in two consecutive election; namely the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the Golkar Party, the Democratic Party, the Gerindra Party, the National Democratic Party (NasDem), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and the National Mandate Party. (PAN). In particular, this research also provides a qualitative analysis of findings from interviews with a number of DPP officials from four parties: PDIP, Golkar Party, Democratic Party, and NasDem Party.

The formation of party management structure is in principal the authority of the party chairman, but the process of proposing and recruiting candidates varies from party to party. The dominant role of the General Chairperson of a political party on the one hand can be interpreted as a strong legitimacy of leadership in the institution. On the other hand, however, it can also reflect a weakness in the institutionalization and supposedly rational process within political parties because the dynamics of relation among party officials are still strongly determined by personal proximity to the general chairpersons.

The conduct of this research was based on the concern that very low number women who fill formal strategic positions in the DPP structure, which are the General Chair, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, or General Treasurer. In the research findings, we found that the meaning of “strategic position” varies among political parties. There are those who interpret it formally as previously mentioned, but there are also those who interpret it in terms of access to the General Chair, especially related to the policy-making process, lobbying and strategic party meetings. This again shows that the institutionalization of parties in Indonesia tends to be weak because the formal structure known as the DPP sometimes functions as a mere fulfillment of administrative requirements.

Problems related to women’s representation in the DPP structure narrowed down to the fulfillment of affirmative policy regulation to have a 30% women representation in party structure which turned out to be merely a fulfillment of administrative requirements in order to participate in elections. Almost all political parties hold national meetings (Munas) to reshuffle the management structure immediately after the legislative elections. This research also found that after the national meetings, the percentage of women in the party’s DPP tended to decline. This has happened uniformly across parties that it seems to be taken as a common practice. The composition of the DPP will be corrected again to fulfill the 30% women representation ahead of the legislative elections.

In the Reformasi Era, Indonesia has had three Laws on Political Parties which are the basis for political party policies; Law Number 31 of 2002, Law Number 2 of 2008, and Law Number 2 of 2011. Affirmative articles that regulate the 30% representation of women in the management of political parties at the central level can be found in Law Number 2 of 2011 concerning Political Parties and Law Number 7 of 2017 on Elections. All regulations concerning the formation of political party DPPs are clear in supporting, even requiring, a 30% women representation in the structure. The challenge still remains in the commitment of political parties to substantively fulfill the principles of equality, inclusiveness, and transparency in the process. The entire series of research was carried out with the full support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Indonesia. The CWI Research Team is grateful for the support that has been given. The entire content of this research report is fully the responsibility of CWI and reflection our thoughts in the research team. Hopefully readers can benefit from this publication.