Surveys show most Indonesian political parties won’t meet parliamentary threshold, PDI-P clear winner in 2019

President Joko Widodo, a PDI-P cadre, on stage addressing his party’s supporters. Photo: AFP
President Joko Widodo, a PDI-P cadre, on stage addressing his party’s supporters. Photo: AFP

Indonesians are spoilt for choice when when it comes to the number of political parties they can vote for (not that they’re always good choices, considering almost all of our parties differ very little in terms of policy and ideologies). But come 2019, the number of parties in parliament may be but a fraction of the current number.

Sixteen political parties have officially been registered to contest seats in the House of Parliament (DPR) in next year’s general election. But recent surveys from several institutions show that most of the parties — even the traditionally large ones — won’t win seats in the DPR as they don’t meet the 4% popular vote parliamentary threshold required by Indonesia’s General Elections Law.

One of those surveys was released today by Media Survei Nasional (Median). Out of 1,200 respondents, current government coalition leader PDI-P came out on top with 26% of the votes, followed by opposition coalition leader Gerindra with 16.5% of the votes. Others who passed the threshold were Golkar with 8.8%, the National Awakening Party (PKB) with 8.6%, and the Democratic Party with 3.6%.

Surprisingly, 10 parties did not meet the 4% threshold, including the National Mandate Party (PAN), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP), NasDem and Hanura — all parties that fulfilled the parliamentary requirements in 2014. New parties including Perindo, the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) and Berkarya also failed in the survey, while the Change Indonesia Movement Party (Garuda) was not included in the survey.

Of course the survey’s results also reflect the 14.4% of respondents who did not state their preference in the survey, making them potential swing voters that could sway these numbers significantly before the election. Median’s survey has a margin of error of 2.9% and a 95% confidence level.

Other recent surveys showed similar results. From April to May, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) surveyed 2,100 people on their political party preferences, resulting in PDI-P coming out on top with 24.1%, followed by Golkar with 10.2% and Gerindra with 9.1%. Like Median’s survey, most other parties did not make the cut, but LIPI’s version has PPP above the threshold.

The Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI) showed near-identical results to Median’s, while Poltracking Indonesia had PKS just making the threshold with 4.6%.

The 2019 General Election will feature four more parties compared to the previous one in 2014, which might explain why the votes are more spread out and fewer parties appear prepared to make the cut. Historically, it’s not easy for a new party to meet the threshold and break into parliament (only one party, NasDem, managed the feat in 2014), but, if these surveys are anything to go by, next year might be the first time we’ll see parliamentary mainstays like and PKS and PAN without a seat in the DPR.

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