The Discourse of Three Periods of Widodo’s in the Perspective of the Indonesian Constitution

As known which the progress of a nation and the success of a state constitution is one of the causes of the country’s leader. For instance the case in Indonesia, in the next two years, President Joko Widodo will officially be the president for a decade (two periods). Through the successive period of President Joko Widodo, there was a discourse that emerged on his period to three terms. Indonesia is a democratic country that upholds the constitution, the limited authority of the rulers, ensuring the rights of the people, and running a good government are absolute things that must be realized. If this discourse happened, it will require a reshuffle of the state base, the participation of the public, and also the role of government for the running of the government in a conducive manner. The constitution in Indonesia is a form of community agreement in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia which is considered a connector for the ideals of nation-building and the common prosperity. One of the big influences in the life of state administration is how the government of a country runs well and the lives of its people are guaranteed. As a country that adheres to a constitutionalist system, the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia should be used as the basis for the administration of its government. Therefore, as the notion of constitutionalism exists amid the Indonesian constitution, it aims to ensure that no power is harmed if Jokowi’s three periods occurred.

From the New Order government to reformation, one of the hopes of the nation, both the people and the government at that time until now, was to jointly renew the term of office system to a new presidency with restrictions on it. This hope departs from the track record of former President Soeharto, who served as President of the Republic of Indonesia for approximately 32 years. Since a period of reform that only focused on the objectives of the principle of constitutionalism, the limitation on the power or authority of a ruler had indeed been regulated in Article 7 of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia which became the reference for a replacement to the next President of the Republic of Indonesia.

President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, in the next two years will officially serve for approximately 10 years or a decade. President Joko Widodo’s term of office will expire in 2024 since he has been President of the Republic of Indonesia for two terms, Joko Widodo cannot run again because according to the mandate of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia as mentioned overhead, the limitation of power is regulated in Article 7 which reads, the President and Vice President can only hold office for five years and indeed can later be re-elected.

In addition, the contents of the article are also regulated in Law Article 169 Number 14 of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 7 of 2017 concerning General Elections. However, recently there has been an issue about the three terms of President Joko Widodo’s term of office. The proposal for an additional term of office for the president came to the fore starting in 2014 – 2019 when there was a recommendation from the MPR to amend the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, which limited it to the Outline of State Policy (GBHN).

Based on constitutional principles (constitutionalism) and if the discourse of President Joko Widodo’s term will be heeded, then it is the same as carrying out unconstitutional actions. Whereas the principle of constitutionalism itself includes not only limiting existing powers but also how a government and people carry out the positive obligations of the state (Rudy, 2013). The discourse on the three periods of the president is unconstitutional because it has violated the regulations regarding the term of office regulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and the requirements to run for president of the Republic of Indonesia in the regulation of Article 169 of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 7 of 2017 concerning General Elections. This has indeed been refuted by President Joko Widodo regarding the discourse of his three-term office, but it still does not rule out the possibility and could potentially continue to be realized in the future.

Therefore, if the discourse of the three periods is realized, from a juridical perspective it has harmed the Indonesian Constitution and regulations under it. Moreover, judging from the perspective of constitutionalism, in understanding the constitution in a unitary state, it is known that there are only three main problems that are regulated in the constitution. First, in the context of the general structure of the state (legislative, executive, judicial). Second, related to the large limits between one power and another. in relation. Third, is the relationship between the government and its people. In line with Ivo D. Duchaek, “identify the sources, purposes, uses and restrains of public power.” It concluded that the constitution identifies all sources, all purposes, uses and how the limitation of power works in general (Asshiddiqie, 2010).

Constitution Amendment Potential (The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia)

The term of office of the President and Vice President according to the provisions of Article 7 of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia is only five years and can be re-elected either in a row or not, but with a limit of two terms. With the discourse on the current presidential term of office for three terms, it is the potential to be heeded by the amendments to the constitution. Quoting George Jellineck’s opinion, which emphasized that there are two ways to change the constitution, firstly changing it in a formal form (verfassungwanderung) which is carried out by means of the provisions of the constitution itself and the second in an informal form (verfassungwandlung) which means that it is carried out with provisions outside the constitution and occurs due to unforeseen circumstances.

The ability to amend the constitution to support the proposed three-term presidential term in a formal form. There are no limitations or problems in affirming the amendments to the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia regarding the term of office of the President and his Deputy. Changes are formally in the hands of the MPR, which contains members of the DPR and DPD. The amendment is very likely to be carried out, apart from the procedure for amending the Constitution, it must go through the stages of proposal, discussion and approval. This requirement can be heeded considering that amendments to the Law are proposed by at least 1/3 of the members of the MPR, the discussion is attended by at least 2/3 of the members and the approval or decision is attended by at least 2/3 or 50 percent of the members plus one member in the session. The members of the MPR are members of the DPR and DPD which have been mentioned in Article 2 of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. All members of the MPR are approximately 711 members, and consist of 575 members of the People’s Representative Council, as well as 136 members of the Regional Representatives Council. In the reign of President Joko Widodo, who controls more or fewer supporters in the DPR with around 471 votes and at least PKS and Democrats are still in the opposition line with a total of 104 votes. So, approximately 80 percent of the votes in the government are supporters of the government of President Joko Widodo. This shows that the discourse on President Joko Widodo’s three periods has the potential to be carried out even though President Joko Widodo himself denies the proposal for a three-term term of office that he will carry because considering that 273 votes for the proposal for changes can get from members, the discussion can be attended at least 474 members, and approval or decision if there are 356 votes.

Constitutionalism Overview

The implication is that our constitution opens a gap in its amendments. Change is needed when there is something important to do for the welfare and benefit of the nation’s life, but if changes are made only because of the interests of a few people, it means that power has been injured and the dignity of the constitution is tarnished. The People’s Consultative Assembly is considered to be able to heed all of this because the contents of its members are as described previously, one example of the changes needed and for the good of the entire Indonesian nation is in Article 1 of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, it is clear that state sovereignty is no longer in the hands of the MPR but in the hands of the people. The article is not only a stanza that the people hold sovereignty but also reflects on current events, including the existing three-period discourse. This somewhat vague provision was a reaction to the assumption that the New Order at that time had used the MPR as a tool of authoritarianism and that was the form of the powerlessness of the People’s Consultative Assembly, which was perhaps even worse, the key to the post-Soeharto amendments. But because of the previously mentioned potential, the abuse of presidential power can happen again because it is supported by the government he currently holds. This discourse of three terms of office is contrary to the spirit of the constitution to limit the power and rotation of the political elite of state leaders, which can harm the leadership regeneration process (Latansa, 2019).

Overview from the principle of constitutionalism that Indonesia has adhered to from the beginning of independence until now, history also proves that the Indonesian people want freedom, justice, and equality. But on the other hand, the existing history also reveals that all the ideals of the nation above are still gripped by deep inequality and persist in the pattern of deifying power, exclusion, especially in the capacity of small groups carried out by the elite to benefit themselves because it is the oligarchy that dominates this country. It is undeniable that the post-Soeharto amendments described earlier are a form of achievement in upholding the common constitution, but over time after the reform era, to be precise during the reign of the current government, little by little the Indonesian constitution or constitutionalism is being undermined and taken over. by the ruler. As stated by Lord Acton an iron law of power, “powers tend to corrupt, absolute powers corrupt absolutely”. That is why power must be limited and constitutionalism is present in the middle of government circles. This understanding is used and should be applied for establishing the Indonesian state itself. Each constitution must have limited power because if there is no constitution, the constitution has lost its constitutionalist spirit which in the end will only become legitimacy for that country (Indonesia) which has no limits. Thus, if detailed restrictions on power have been realized in a country, it becomes clear from these details which are the powers of the rulers and where are the rights of the people as well. Because the constitution regulates the rule of law to the individual and the government.

To conclude, the discourse on the three terms of President Joko Widodo’s term of office that has surfaced, although in terms of formal changes, can be carried out by the supporting political elites who are currently occupying most of the seats as supporters of constitutional changes (the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia) to propose, discuss, and the approval of the amendment is still part of an unconstitutional act because it is contrary to the existing constitution and the laws and regulations under it (the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and Law No. 7 of 2017 concerning Elections) which also if viewed from the perspective of constitutionalism does not reflect the ideals of a nation from the beginning of Indonesia’s independence itself. Amendments are indeed required when there is a necessity to follow the demands of the times, considering the absolute aspect of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. The discourse on a three periods term of office is also considered to be disrespectful to the mandate of reform related to the limitation of power because of the actions of the New Order government, whose rulers were very corrupt in power. Therefore, in order to maintain the dignity of the constitution and the spirit of constitutionalism in the discourse about the addition of a term of President Joko Widodo are not heeded for the parameters of the term of office that have been regulated in existing provisions and regenerate the existing leadership in Indonesia to produce new leaders. what might be good potential is thought, expertise that is no less good and great than the leader who is currently in office.

Faiha Oktrina
Faiha Oktrina
Faiha Oktrina is a Final Year Student of Faculty of Law University of Bengkulu which focus in Constitutional Law and International Law realm