The Coalition is Heating Up
1 January 1970 07:00 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Having the support of 290 seats in the House of Representatives (DPR) is more than enough to register Joko Widodo as a presidential candidate. This support comes from five parties, namely: the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Golkar, National Democrat (NasDem), the United Development Party (PPP) and Hanura. This number is far above the threshold for a presidential nomination, which is 20 percent or 112 DPR seats.
Nevertheless, Jokowi is still leaving the door open for other parties to join. If someone wants to form a coalition with me, why would I turn them down? That's not possible, said Jokowi in an interview with Tempo, on Friday last week. He said that he has met with nearly every party and its leaders. From the current coalition of parties supporting the government, only two parties have not yet supported Jokowi's nomination, namely the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN).
Jokowi does not always want to rely on the old coalition. Two newcomers, namely the United Indonesia Party (Perindo) and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), have been embraced. Jokowi has even approached the Democrat Party to join the coalition. Golkar Party General Chair Airlangga Hartarto was the liaison between the Presidential Palace and Democrat Party General Chair Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "I have been a bridge to many parties," said this Minister of Industry.
Airlangga declined to give any details about the meeting with Yudhoyono. Another politician who knew what happened at that meeting said that the Democrat Party does not object to joining the pro-Jokowi coalition. A signal in that direction could be seen at the Democrat Party National Leadership Meeting, which was held on the second Saturday of March. At that time, Yudhoyono said that there was a chance of their party taking up the struggle alongside Jokowi.
Democrat Party Board of Patrons Deputy Chair Agus Hermanto said that their party is still considering a number of possibilities before deciding to form a coalition with Jokowi. It is possible, said the DPR Deputy Speaker, that the Democrat Party and other parties could form a new alliance. Another possibility is offering Yudhoyono's son, Agus Harimurti, as a vice-presidential candidate.
Airlangga also said that he has personally met with PAN General Chair Zulkifli Hasan. In the near future, he is also going to meet with PKB General Chair Muhaimin Iskandar. "I was asked to ensure that the coalition remains solid," he said.
Assigned by Jokowi to be the mouthpiece to coalition parties, Airlangga faced an immediate problem. Two parties which support the current administration, the PPP and PKB, are involved in a battle of nerves. They are competing to offer their general chair as Jokowi's running mate. On Monday last week, Romahurmuziy said that he was ready to become a vice-presidential candidate. "I cannot say I'm not ready if the country calls for me, or the people need me," he said in Bandung, West Java.
Read the full article in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine