2024 Elections: Promoting Civic Participation
The year 2024 holds significant political importance for Indonesia as it marks the scheduled general elections on 14th February. These elections encompass the selection of not only the president and vice president but also the People's Consultative Assembly, which includes the DPR (The Hous Representatives of Indonesia), DPD (The Regional Repsentative of Indonesia), and members of local legislative bodies. Embracing the upcoming general elections, FNF Indonesia and the Institute of Empowerment Movement (LEGEPE) organized an Intermediate Civic Education program to foster civic participation in politics, particularly during elections in Semarang on 3 - 4 June 2023. Our firm belief is that civic participation is a vital element in fortifying democracy and attaining greater prosperity. The Civic Education program saw the participation of 30 individuals representing local communities and organizations.
Ripana Puntarasa, our first speaker, provided insights into the societal role in establishing a secure and peaceful election process. Given the rapid advancement of digital media, acquiring reliable information has become an immense challenge for our society. Puntarasa expressed concerns regarding the proliferation of fake news and disinformation in the lead-up to the 2024 elections. Emphasizing the importance of civic participation, Puntarasa highlighted that society's involvement should extend beyond casting votes; it should encompass creating a peaceful election process with minimal conflicts. Puntarasa underlined the need for integration between voluntary efforts from communities and local organizations to promote peaceful elections.
Rohyanto, a participant from Banjarnegara, a small district in Central Java, expressed his opinion that the significance and usefulness of politics depend on how we socialize and implement it within society. In other words, politics requires tangible actions. Additionally, he noted that thus far, the likelihood of friction or conflicts at the district level in Banjarnegara remains relatively low.
On the other hand, Guntur, a participant from Blora, shared a different perspective on the general elections in his district. He expressed concerns about the high potential for conflicts or friction arising from the election candidates. By attending this civic education program, he hopes to learn strategies to effectively navigate and manage these potential conflicts in his district.
Warsito Ellwein, the second speaker, shed light on the crucial role of continuous volunteer work from local communities and organizations. He emphasized that their presence should be visible and recognized by society. "You must establish a bargaining position, and your role in society should be sustainable," stated Warsito. He also commended the participants who have dedicated themselves as democracy volunteers, including their involvement in the governor of Central Java's "Jogo Tonggo" management program during the pandemic. "We have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the betterment of our nation and society," he added. Regarding the role of volunteers, Warsito highlighted the necessity of preparing strategies to foster cooperation with local stakeholders. This collaboration would prove highly beneficial, as volunteers cannot accomplish their goals in isolation.
"You (volunteers) must establish a bargaining position, and your role in society should be sustainable,"
In addition to receiving insights from resource persons, the participants engaged in group discussions to address potential conflicts that may arise in society leading up to the elections. They actively deliberated on the necessary steps to navigate these potential conflicts. Furthermore, participants focused on enhancing their performance as volunteers and establishing networks with stakeholders. As the training concluded, they formulated action plans pertaining to the activities they would undertake in their respective regions to foster a peaceful election process.