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Deals abound as coalitions crystalize

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THEJAKARTAPOST.COM – The efforts of the nation’s leading political parties to secure coalition partners ahead of the July 9 presidential election are intensifying following the announcement of the official results of the April 9 legislative election last Friday. The Jakarta Post’s Bagus BT Saragih takes a closer look at the various coalition deals, while Hasyim Widhiartoprovides a review of the eventual announcement of the legislative election results.

 Both Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, the two strongest presidential candidates so far, have sealed deals with Islamic parties as part of their efforts to win support from the country’s vast Islamic community.
Prabowo of the Gerindra Party has secured official support from the United Development Party (PPP) after an internal rift within the Islamic party — centering on opposition against chairman Suryadharma Ali’s “premature” support of Prabowo during the legislative election campaign — was resolved.
Suryadharma’s support, which was annulled in a party caucus in Bogor, last month, eventually gained “acclamation” during the party’s national executive meeting in Jakarta starting on Saturday.
“Our decision to support Prabowo was made after taking into consideration suggestions from clerics, the aspirations of constituents and the hope for a visionary, decisive leader that has ability to make Indonesia a respected nation in the global arena,” PPP secretary-general Romahurmuziy said on Monday in a statement after the meeting.
The closed-door meeting was previously adjourned for more than 24 hours due to heated debates between those supporting Prabowo and those supporting Jokowi, which resulted in deadlock.
Meanwhile, another Muslim-based party, the National Awakening Party (PKB), announced on Saturday it was officially supporting Jokowi of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), an opposition party since 2004.
“A meeting attended by the PKB’s central executive board and members of the patron council in Jombang, East Java, have decided that the PKB will support Jokowi,” PKB chairman Muhaimin Iskandar said, citing the decision had been influenced by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) clerics.
The party is considered the political representative of the NU, the country’s largest Islamic organization and the majority of PPP members are also NU members.
The PKB is the second party to formally support Jokowi’s presidential candidacy, the first being the NasDem Party.
Moves by the PKB and the PPP were made days after the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the legislative election result.
Four Islamic parties in the current government coalition — the PKB, the PPP, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) — have intensified maneuvers to join other parties, leaving behind President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, which has remained “quiet” so far.
Besides the PPP, executives of PAN and the PKS have also given clearer signals, albeit not officially, that they would support Prabowo. Gerindra co-founder and Prabowo’s brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo also confirmed that PAN chairman Hatta Rajasa was the most possible vice presidential candidate for Prabowo.
PAN will officially decide on its coalition future during the national meeting (Rakernas) on Wednesday in Jakarta. Gerindra deputy chairman Fadli Zon confirmed on Friday that Prabowo would attend the meeting.
PKS chairman Anis Matta also confirmed that the party’s formal support of Prabowo was pending the finalization of the alliance’s “terms and conditions” currently being put together by a team consisting of PKS and Gerindra members.
Yunarto Wijaya, a political analyst from Charta Politika, believed the latest developments ahead of the presidential election were largely affected by the selection of the presidential candidates’ running mates.
“After the official vote tally, I heard Hatta had been named Prabowo’s running mate, pending a formal decision in PAN’s upcoming Rakernas. This development alone has significantly affected the political dynamics, particularly because Hatta appears to be more favored than [Golkar’s] Aburizal Bakrie,” Yunarto said.
Aburizal’s meetings with Prabowo in previous weeks generated a lot of media attention, but the Golkar boss is likely to lose out on the position of Prabowo’s vice presidential candidate to Hatta of PAN, which received only 7.59 percent of the popular vote — about half of Golkar’s.
If PAN and the PKS eventually join forces to nominate Prabowo-Hatta, Yunarto said, it would also pressure the Democratic Party in terms of having the prestige to nominate its own presidential or vice presidential candidate, regardless of the party’s nose-dive in the legislative vote compared to the 2009 election.
Yudhoyono was said to be considering an alliance by targeting parties in the current government coalition, with Hatta, currently the coordinating economic minister and one of Yudhoyono’s confidants, being considered the alliance’s most probable vice presidential candidate. The Democratic Party’s presidential candidate could also be the winner of the its ongoing presidential convention, which is scheduled to be finalized on May 15.
However, the prospects for the Democratic Party forming its own coalition have reduced, with the PKB, PAN, the PKS and the PPP —four of the current government’s six coalition members — on the brink of joining either Jokowi or Prabowo. The sole remaining potential coalition partner for the Democrats will likely be Golkar.
With Golkar and the Democratic Party facing similar pressures, it was possible the two would join forces, Yunarto said.
“None of the 11 participants in the Democratic Party’s convention has considerable electability. So both Golkar and the Democratic Party are finding it very difficult to negotiate their candidates to be the running mates of either Prabowo or Jokowi,” he said. “Hence, an alliance between the two is now more feasible.”
Golkar deputy chairman Fadel Muhammad confirmed the party had attempted to establish political communication with Yudhoyono over a coalition. Such attempts had so far not seen a response from Yudhoyono, triggering disappointment in Aburizal’s camp.
“The KPU’s official vote tally showed that Golkar received the highest vote among members of the government coalition. Isn’t it normal to let us have a greater role ahead the presidential election?” said Fadel, a former minister in Yudhoyono’s Cabinet.
“Yudhoyono should talk with us as well as with other coalition members. Golkar has always supported Yudhoyono both in the government and in the House of Representatives and now [Yudhoyono] treats us like we are nothing [to him],” he added.
Pol-Tracking executive director Hanta Yuda, however, has a different view. According to him, the most likely scenario for the Democratic Party now is joining the PDI-P’s coalition to support Jokowi.
“However, I predict the Democratic Party will use the coalition to secure Cabinet seats rather than the vice presidential ticket,” he said.
During a consolidation meeting at Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, West Java, last month, some of the party’s regional executives proposed that the party support Jokowi’s presidential bid.
PDI-P deputy secretary-general Eriko Sotarduga said the PDI-P was still open to the possibility of forming an alliance with the Democratic Party.
But Democratic Party executive chairman Syariefuddin Hasan insisted his party’s coalition path had not yet been decided and was pending the party’s ongoing presidential convention. A member of the party suggested Yudhoyono would not receive the PDI-P’s response to its coalition proposal until May 15.
Also last week, the Hanura Party also failed to reach a consensus on which presidential candidate to support. Instead, the party gave the authority solely to party chairman Wiranto to decide.
“Hanura has agreed to support the presidential candidate with the biggest chance of winning the race, but we also realize the running mate selection process will also affect the electability of the candidates,” Hanura executive Saleh Husin said.
“So we will not decide until all the presidential candidates have named their running mates,” he said after Hanura’s national executive meeting, which party members indicated was a forum to make Hanura’s support of Prabowo official.

Sumber : the jakarta post,13 Mei 2014

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