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Indonesia’s political parties are not keen on being on the opposition


IO, Jakarta – After the 17 April 2019 Elections, that resulted in the victory of Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin, parties that make up the Fair and Prosperous Coalition were shaken. The Democrat Party and the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – “PAN”) are two parties in the Prabowo-Sandi coalition who rushed to meet Joko Widodo. On the contrary, the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera – “PKS”) firmly chose the stance of opposition. Somewhere in the middle, the recent meeting between Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party General Chairman Prabowo Subianto with the President Jokowi at the Lebak Bulus MRT station was merely an ordinary courtesy meeting to express congratulations, even though many would consider it to be a reconcilia­tion meeting.

As for which parties will be included in the Government coalition, Democrat Party Vice General Secretary Didi Irawadi Syamsuddin said that they welcome President Jokowi’s invitation of Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) since the Presidential Elections are over. AHY was not making any maneuver, let alone discussing ministerial seats.  “The word ‘maneuver’ is incorrect. This is just a communication taken to re-establish unity. It’s still too soon to talk about ministerial position; discussions will only start in October,” he said in a meeting titled “Jokowi’s Second Term: Organizing Supporter Trains vs. Regulating the Ranks of the Opposition” held at Para Syndicate Office in Jalan Wijaya 3, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Friday (19/07/2019).

He further stated that his party has not determined whether to join the Governmental coalition or stay outside. “Having a position outside of the Government is very good, but we need to look into the future. If it is necessary, we will remain consistent. We cannot request any seat whatsoever. We have to maintain our dignity, and we must follow the 14 principles of the Democrat Party’s pro-people programs,” Didi said.

Meanwhile, PAN General Secretary Eddy Soeparno stated that the current post-election political situation is different from that of five years ago. At the time, PAN chose to join the Government coalition because its position in the parliament would be unfairly lopsided if PAN did not join in. “At the time, we thought that many of Jokowi’s government programs should be supported, so we joined the Government coalition,” he said.

On the contrary, the Government coalition positions at both legislative and executive bodies are now solid. In relation to the recent meeting between PAN’s General Chairman and Jokowi, he stated that PAN is not the kind of party that would request ministerial seats. “We are aware of our position, i.e. that we are not Jokowi supporters. However, if the Government program is pro-people and supports invest­ment, PAN will support it. If we decide not to join in, PAN will critique the Government constructively,” Eddy said.

Democrat’s Vice General Secretary and PAN’s General Secretary both stated that their parties would only express their official stance after they have held their respective National Work Meeting (Rapat Kerja Nasional – “Rakernas”). “We will announce our political stance after the Rakernas is held next month,” Eddy said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Institute of Sciences’ (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – “LIPI”) Senior Researcher Syamsuddin Haris stated that an opposition is necessary to keep control of the Government, yet becoming an opposing party is something that Indonesia’s political parties are not interested in. “Let’s just wait for the end of each Party’s Rakernas to find out their political stances,” he said.

Syamsuddin further stated that being in opposition is not an issue of numbers. Even having 1-2 opposing parties is enough to critique the Government constructively. “It’s possible to have 2 parties in the Government coalition, and 2 in the opposition. If anyone is interested in getting into the Government, that’s their political right,” he said.

Syamsuddin further suggested that any coalition made should be based on skill, not politics. Therefore, he asks that the Vice President-Elect not take in too many parties, as more than 60% of votes are obtained by Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s party. “We request that Mr. Jokowi not bait people, not flirt with the opposition in order to get their people into his cabinet,” he said. (Dan)


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