UNAIR NEWS – White group (abstention) seems to have become common in democracy in Indonesia. Abstention is a form of disappointment over the regime and ongoing political contestation. So, the issue of abstention is often found as negative thing, because most people assume that abstention do not solve the problem.
However, it is not that easy to look at the true meaning of abstention. According to Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) lecturer from Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) Ali Sahab S.IP., M.Si abstention has increased along the rising of political tension. The phenomenon is motivated by many reasons.
“The community now has a variety of reasons underlying the decision to choose not to vote,” Ali Sahab said on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at Taman Demokrasi, FISIP UNAIR.
In Bareng Arek-Arek Diskusi Santai (BAKAR SINTE) event, Ali explained that the developed stigma by media also plays an important role, especially in explaining abstention as a misconception.
According to a student as the second speaker, Muhammad Syahrul Fath, when using the lesser evil perspective, as the owner of rights, at least the community must choose the best one among the worst candidates. This is a contrary to the true meaning of abstention.
On the other hand, abstention is a form of real criticism that can be shown in the democratic system in Indonesia and it questions the effectiveness of ongoing democratic process because, abstention can later have an effect in the long run.
When the elected president turns out to be far from the expectations of the people, there will be mistrust. Thus, the president loses legitimacy towards society, which in turn will encourage and force the president to improve himself to gain public trust.
“So, essentially abstention is not an apolitical act in democracy, because deciding to choose not to vote is an implementation of using the right to vote,” he said.
BAKAR SINTE is held by Student Executive Board (BEM) FISIP UNAIR every once a week, on Wednesday. In addition to improving scientific insight, this discussion was intended as a forum of movement as a characteristic of FISIP students.
This discussion is open to public so students from outside FISIP are permitted to attend the regular discussion. (*)
Author: Wildan Ibrahimsyah
Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh