The New Indonesia Party (PIB), the majority party on the Singkawang Legislative Council, may not be able to maintain its existence on the council should the much-debated bill on legislative elections be enacted in its current state. Singkawang regency, which is dominated by Chinese-Indonesians, saw four of its 25 legislative council seats filled by members of the PIB, a party known for its policies that accommodate the interests of the Chinese descents.
Although the party only gained 0.19 percent of votes nationwide in the 2009 polls, putting it in 34th position on the list of the total 38 political parties in the country, the PIB managed to win the majority of 11.91 percent of regional legislative votes in Singkawang. But that would mean nothing if the House of Representatives decided to approve the election bill that critics say would jeopardize democracy in the regions.
The bill, which is to replace the 2008 Legislative Elections Law, for instance, would increase the legislative threshold — the minimum percentage of the vote needed to enter the House — from 2.5 percent to at least 4 percent. The problem is, critics say, that the threshold would likely apply nationwide, including to political parties that aim for seats on regional councils.
While the lawmakers are still debating whether they should raise the threshold, the government has approved the House’ proposal that the agreed legislative threshold will also apply for provincial and regional councils.