The Indonesian Military (TNI) has once again expressed its hope to regain the right to vote in elections, saying that all regulations related to the military’s political rights should be evaluated by 2024. Speaking to members of the House of Representatives’ special committee on the election bill on Tuesday, TNI chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said the military should get their voting rights after 2024 as the country would hold regional, legislative and presidential elections that year. “There will be three elections at the same time in 2024. It’s a crucial year. It will need more attention. So 2024 will be the right time to evaluate [the regulations on TNI’s voting rights],” Gatot said.
Gatot made the statement after being asked by the lawmakers if the military, whose presence in civilian spheres has been felt more in recent years, was ready to get their voting rights back.
Former president Soeharto barred military members from voting after the 1955 legislative elections to maintain the force’s strong support for the government. Under Soeharto, who was also an Army general, the military was given up to 20 percent of House seats.
The TNI currently has around 600,000 members. While the number is insignificant compared to the total number of voters in the country, the proposal to grant the military voting rights has sparked controversy over fears that the military would fail to maintain its neutrality in politics, particularly during elections.