In the past week, the public was shocked by the decision of the General Elections Commission (KPU) to cancel the presentation of the presidential candidates’ vision and mission. KPU will also share the election debate questionnaire to each candidate. This decision raises a polemic, which also questions the neutrality of the commission in organising the 2019 Presidential Election (Pilpres).
KPU had planned to hold the presentation on 9 January 2019. This aims to make the public more familiar with the vision and mission of each candidate before starting the election debate. However, the commission cancelled the presentation five days before it was implemented.
The decision was made based on an agreement between the KPU and the campaign teams from each candidate at a joint meeting on last Friday. KPU found it difficult if it had to facilitate the wishes of the two different sides. Moreover, discussions on the matter in several meetings did not reach an agreement.
The elections commission eventually handed over the dissemination of vision and mission to each presidential and vice presidential candidate. “They can do it individually. They set the place and time on their own. KPU no longer organises the presentation,” KPU Chairman Arief Budiman said at Mandarin Hotel in Jakarta, Saturday (1/5).
Sandiaga Uno deplored the KPU’s decision not to organise the presentation of the vision and mission of each candidate pair. He said the event is actually important to be broadcasted by the campaign organisers in order to introduce the concept of each candidate’s program.
“Many people are waiting for it. They want to hear the candidate pairs convey their vision and mission directly. As an election organiser, the KPU should organise it,” Sandiaga said in Senopati, South Jakarta, Sunday (1/6).
Gerindra Party’s Jakarta Executive Board (DPD) Chairman M Taufik even claimed to have reported the KPU Commissioners to the Election Organisation Ethics Council (DKPP) on Monday. KPU commissioners were reported because they did not carry out their duties in organising the dissemination of the presidential and vice presidential candidates’ vision and mission. “Yes, we have made a report. Obviously, the KPU must organise the presentation. The vision and mission is something that must be conveyed in the campaign,” Taufik said in Jakarta, Monday (1/7).
Ferry Juliantono, Deputy Chairman of Gerindra Party, which is the party supporting the Prabowo-Sandi pair, suspects that the request to cancel the presentation event came from the Jokowi-Ma’ruf camp. “In my opinion, this indicates that there are those who are afraid of losing the election debate,” Ferry said in Menteng, Jakarta, Sunday (1/6).
This issue eventually became a public conversation, especially on social media. On Sunday (1/6), #JKWTakutPaparkanMisiVisi hashtag was a trending topic on Twitter. This upset the incumbent camp. The following day, the Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s National Campaign Team (TKN) Spokesperson Arya Sinulingga held a press conference at Cemara Post, Jakarta.
Arya denied the allegation that Jokowi-Ma’ruf pair is afraid to directly convey their vision and mission. Presentation of vision and mission is one-way communication without any debate, so it is very easy to be done directly by the candidate pair. The most important thing is the deepening of the vision and mission through the election debate, which will be held by the KPU.
The presentation is considered ineffective and efficient if it is done in a separate agenda. This is because the vision and mission will also be reflected in every answer from the candidate pairs during the election debate. “We ask for no repetition. After all, there is a debate to convey their respective visions and mission. There is no need for the president candidates to organise it? Let their campaign team do it,” Arya said.