Strengthening Democracy Ahead of the 2024 Election in West Papua

The atmosphere of the 2024 election in West Papua

Indonesia is one of the countries that upholds democratic values. From the people, by the people, for the people, becomes a slogan firmly held by Indonesia’s civil society. It is included in West Papua, where civilians are trying to strengthen democracy ahead of the 2024 election in West Papua. 

Civil society is trying their best to avoid repeating the darkness of the general election in 2018[1], which will be mentioned in this article. Aside from that, there is an explanation about the power of the civilians too. Also, you can read about what makes the democracy in West Papua unique. 

So, here is the explanation about all of that! 

A Brief History of How The Democracy in West Papua Develop 

Development of Democracy in West Papua

Due to the general election of 2024 in Indonesia that is approaching, the civilians have started to prepare. They have so many ways to strengthen democracy in society, and one of them is by reflecting on the past. Then, they will discover the problem and how to fix it. 

The West Papuan are also doing this, for example, by looking back at the general election of 2018. At that time, the democratic curves in Papua and West Papua Province tended to be sloping. The vulnerability index is quite high whether it is in terms of participation, organization, and contestation. 

At that time, the vulnerability index of the general election in Papua Province was the highest amongst the 17 participating provinces. Unfortunately, the conditions in the West Papua Province are also not much different. That is why, next year, the civil society will try to strengthen democracy. [2]

In 2018, unfortunately, there are too many deviations in the election. Starting from the practice of money politics to vote manipulation. This is certainly very detrimental to the civilians. It is because the possibility of them betraying civil society while in the lead of the government will be increased. 

To win, you need to actively participate and fight for it. Apathy will only make you lose.” 

When the civilians are apathetic, there will be holes for cheating to emerge. So, the increase in public participation in general elections will make democracy more meaningful. 

The Power of Civilians in The Development of Democracy in West Papua

The Development of Democracy in West Papua Depends on Society

Basically, public awareness of human rights, including political rights, makes democracy stronger. [3] People learn how to voice out their opinion. Many people started to participate in discussions about politics. Because of that, the political situation in West Papua keeps moving in a better direction. 

Civil society also has greater power in the development of democracy in West Papua. As one of the pieces of evidence, there is an electronic political party service that can be accessed online at the website www.parpol.ahu.go.id. [4] Everyone can access all the things that are related to political parties. 

Aside from that, national values ​​have also begun to be instilled in the civil society of West Papua. Especially to the bureaucrats, the academicians, and the community leaders. [5] The hope is that they can apply these values ​​to the wider community. It will make the power of the civilians stronger. 

The Things that Make Democracy in West Papua Unique 

Get to Know Demokrasi in West Papua

However, there is something unique regarding the democracy that is being applied in West Papua. They have a different democratic system because they represent their opinion to their tribal chief or the keret (sub-tribe) chief. [6] This kind of system still exists because they still embrace their culture. 

However, in the 2024 election in West Papua, everyone has a chance to voice out their own voice. This is different from their culture, where the voice of the chiefs is the voice of the civil society.