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Nowadays affirmation politics comes like an illusion. Especially in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the presidential and vice presidential elections which increasingly distances discussions about the importance of affirmative politics. Women who compete in the legislative election arena seem to be marginalized.

The question often arises: why do women need to be present in politics? Do women have the capacity to enter electoral politics?

In fact, it is not uncommon for political parties to complain about the difficulty of finding women to nominate as legislative members. Questions and statements like these often become reasons for not strengthening affirmative policy regulations.

The affirmation policy regulated in Article 245 of Law (UU) Number 7 of 2017 concerning Elections states that “The list of prospective candidates as intended in Article 243 contains at least 30% representation of women.”

This article must be interpreted to mean that political parties are obliged to nominate at least 30 percent of women in each electoral district (dapil). If they do not fulfill this provision, political parties cannot nominate candidates for legislative members in that electoral district. This practice has actually been a reference since the 2014 Election and the 2019 Election.

The question often arises: why do women need to be present in politics?

Setback by the KPU

The affirmative political guarantee guaranteed by this law experienced deviations, with the issuance of KPU Regulation (PKPU) Number 10/2023, especially Article 8 Paragraph 2 letter (a).

This article contains provisions that give political parties the opportunity not to nominate 30 percent of women in electoral districts if the results of calculating that 30 percent produce a fractional number after the comma that is less than 50.

This article of course contradicts Article 245 of the Election Law which requires women to be represented by “at least 30 percent” of women in each electoral district.

This PKPU finally sparked resistance from civil society. The Coalition of Communities Concerned with Women’s Representation then came to and urged the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to provide recommendations to the KPU to revise the PKPU.

It didn’t stop there, the coalition finally took legal action through a judicial review at the Supreme Court (MA). The Supreme Court in Decision Number 24 P/HUM/2023 decided that Article 8 Paragraph (2) PKPU Number 10/2023 was contrary to the Election Law. As a consequence, the KPU should immediately change this PKPU.

However, after the Supreme Court’s decision was issued, the KPU never revised it. The KPU only limited to issuing a circular to political parties which essentially conveyed that there was a Supreme Court decision regarding PKPU Number 10 of 2023 which had an impact on nominations and asked political parties to adjust their candidate lists based on the Supreme Court’s decision.

The KPU’s attitude is clearly not in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision. Regarding this matter, the Election Organizer Honorary Council (DKPP) in Decision Number 110-PKE-DKPP/IX/2023 has even given sanctions in the form of a strong warning to the KPU chairman and warning sanctions to other KPU members.


On November 4, the KPU published the permanent candidate list (DCT). Data searches carried out by Netgrit on the DPR RI DCT show that there is only one political party that meets the requirement of nominating 30 percent of women in each electoral district in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision. On the other hand, there are 17 other political parties that failed to meet the requirement of 30 percent female candidacy.

This shows that the KPU’s policy of not revising PKPU Number 10/2023 has an impact on political parties’ efforts to nominate candidates for legislative members. In fact, it can be said that there are no regulations that bind parties to try to nominate at least 30 percent of women on the list of candidates in each electoral district.

The KPU should understand that the quota applied in the nomination of legislative members is a fast track to overcome the disadvantages of women in politics.

There are two ways to overcome the lagging behind in equal representation of women and men in politics, namely through the incremental track and the fast track (Dahlerup and Freindenvall, 2005).

The fast track is used because increasing women’s equality in politics cannot wait long.

The fast track is used because increasing women’s equality in politics cannot wait long. This is because women’s representation cannot increase by itself because there are still structural obstacles experienced by women.

This problem cannot be considered normal. The issue of women in politics is actually not a peripheral issue because the presence of women is very significant in the democratic process. The presence of women in politics can certainly be a factor in bringing about political transformation and ultimately pursuing policies that are fairer and gender-friendly.

Efforts to encourage increased representation of women in parliament that have been carried out since the 2004 elections have also not been without success.

Even though the electability aspect has not yet reached the critical figure of 30 percent, this provision has succeeded in “forcing” political parties to always seek women’s candidacy in every election.

Election organizers certainly have a legal obligation to ensure that this affirmative politics is carried out. Civil society’s efforts to continue voicing this matter cannot be ignored. This is part of real steps to maintain democracy.

Because, once there is an attempt to set back the affirmative political movement, the good things that have been achieved so far will be lost and we will have to start all over again.


Executive Director of the Association for Elections and Democracy

This article was published on Kompas.id on December 12 2023 with the title “Ilusi Politik Afirmasi”, https://www.kompas.id/baca/opini/2023/12/11/ilusi-politik-afirmasi