Switching Party and Anti-Defection Law: Implementation and Impact on Democracy in Indonesia

Author Name(s): Akbar Faizal, Husain Syam
Author Email: akbarfaizal68@gmail.com


This analysis purposes to provide an overview of the legal framework regarding the transfer of membership of political parties in Indonesia and its impact on the realm of democracy. This study uses qualitative-normative research methods by examining library materials or secondary data, as well as primary and secondary legal materials. The study uses the four approaches namely statute approach, conceptual approach, comparative approach, and historical approach. The results of this study indicate that the ban was carried out by giving recall rights to political parties to revoke their membership in parliament and replace it with other members. The high impact is to maintain the stability of government both the legislature and the executive while the adverse effect is the hostility of strong democracy when there is a difference between the will of the constituents and the interests of the party.


Political parties are important organizations in a democratic country [1]. Its role is very strategic because it can affect the filling of public positions that will determine the direction of state policy [2]. Charging public posts directly related to political parties is the position of the legislator. Especially in Indonesia, one cannot develop a member of the Parliament without going through political parties. In countries with advanced democracies, members of political parties not bound by strict rules [3]. Every party member who holds a legislative position given the freedom to defend the voice of his voting community compared to the orders of political parties [4]. As in America, members of parliament who move political parties during their term of office cannot be stripped of their political membership status by political parties [5]. However, in some other countries, the transfer of membership of political parties during their term of office gives the party the right to remove their political membership status. Such conditions place parliamentarians in a dilemmatic position. They must remain standing in favor of policies by party orders if they do not want to lose office although this is against the will of the voters, even their conscience [6]. Compliance with members of the Parliament towards bearer parties is an absolute matter. Because members who do not obey the orders of the party can be removed from their positions in the Parliament and replaced with other cadres (Substitution Between Time) [7]. Likewise, members of the Parliament who moved political parties while in office (switching party) because they felt the will of their constituents were no longer in line with the party [8]. Such rules are considered to be very restraining members of the Parliament to act independently and objectively


The anti-defection law caused a lack of votes from members of political parties opposite their faction, resulting in a decrease in the level of free competition in the Parliament space which could result in a decline in the performance of the government itself. Although the application of anti-defection law deemed incompatible with the characteristics of modern and advanced democracies if there is a significant and fluid defection of MPs it can cause instability of the government. Therefore, defection is also not something that must be done but must avoid. However, avoidance must not be done by entering a ban in the Law which causes members of parliament to lose their seats if they defect from the party. Prevention of defection must be done by strengthening political ethics so that party members are bound ethically to the ideology of the party they have chosen. To do that, political parties through their leaders and administrators must commit to embracing party ideology in every practical political choice.

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