Indonesia’s election commission yields to demands to restore women’s representation rule

The commission will give political parties until May 14 to revise their lists of candidates for the 2024 legislative election to accommodate the rule change.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


Workers from the Depok General Elections Commission (KPU) stack ballot boxes at a warehouse in Cimanggis district, Depok, West Java, on Nov. 25, 2020.(JP/P.J.Leo)

May 15, 2023

JAKARTA – In response to protests from rights groups fearing a lack of women’s representation in the legislature, the General Elections Commission (KPU) has undone a recent rule change that would have decreased the minimum number of women candidates in electoral districts under some circumstances.

The commission returned to its previous policy, in place during the 2019 legislative election, of rounding up the minimum number of women candidates in an electoral district if the calculation resulted in a decimal, revoking a recently passed rule that involved rounding down in some cases.

Following a meeting with the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP) on Tuesday, KPU chief Hasim Asy’ari said on Wednesday that the commission had decided to return to the previous policy.

The minimum number of female legislative candidates in a given electoral district is set at 30 percent of the total number of legislative candidates. But under the short-lived rule passed last month, if the resulting number involved a decimal point, it was rounded up if the tenths digit was greater than or equal to five and rounded down if the tenths digit was less than five.

By that rule, if an electoral district had nine candidates, the minimum number of female candidates would be rounded up to 3, exceeding the 30 percent threshold.

But if an electoral district had eight candidates, the number would be rounded down to two, giving women only 25 percent representation in the election.

This, the KPU ultimately decided, would contradict the 2017 General Elections Law, which requires that at least 30 percent of legislative candidates in a district are women.

The rounding-down KPU regulation was met with protests from rights groups, including an alliance of women’s rights activists that staged a protest at the Bawaslu building in Central Jakarta on Monday.

Hasyim said all calculations for women’s representation in legislative elections would return to the rounding up arrangement.

The KPU will give political parties until May 14 to revise their lists of candidates for the 2024 legislative election to accommodate the rule change.

“Considering that the submission of candidates for the House of Representatives and Regional Representative Council members for the 2024 elections is currently underway, the changes to the KPU regulations will be carried out immediately and will be [discussed in consultation] with the House and the government at the earliest opportunity,” Hasyim said, as quoted by

The DKPP said it supported the KPU’s decision to revise the contentious regulation.

“The DKPP is, of course, happy and supports the steps taken by the KPU, since it follows the prevailing law,” KPPU head Heddy Lugito said on Wednesday.

But because the KPU must still consult with the House on the changes, elections watchdog the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) has called on the public to continue monitoring the issue

“Everybody must be involved […] so that there is no rejection or distortion from the House,” Titi Anggraini of Perludem said, as quoted by

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