Dividing up ministerial seats, Prabowo’s political horse trading trap

CNN Indonesia – April 3, 2019
Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto (CNN)
Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto (CNN)

Jakarta – Election Campaign Team (BPN) Communication and Media Director Hashim Djojohadikusumo has spoken about the agreement between the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) on the allocation of ministerial seats if presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto and vice presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno win the 2019 presidential election.

Djojohadikusumo said that PAN will be given seven cabinet seats and the PKS six. Meanwhile the allocations of cabinet posts for the other political parties (parpol) are still under discussion.

The statement has created controversy because it was announced two weeks before voting day on April 17. The PKS has been reluctant to respond to the issue. The Democrat Party meanwhile has spoken out claiming that it will have eight cabinet seats.

According to Jakarta Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) political observer Adi Prayitno it is inelegant to discuss the issue of dividing up cabinet posts before the results of the 2019 presidential election (pilpres) are known.

He believes that the issue will in fact give rise to negative sentiments in the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp because it reinforces the image of transitional politics within the BPN.

This kind of transactional politics or political horse trading, said Prayitno, has a bad stigma among the public and will in fact create a negative view.

“I see that there is a negative sentiment because we have long condemned political horse trading which has been quite open starting with the New Order era [of former President Suharto]”, said Prayitno when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday April 2.

The statement on cabinet seat allocations could also potentially cut off new sources of support for the BPN. Prayitno said that with the carve up of seats almost complete, other parties wanting to support the Prabowo camp will become reluctant and it will reduce their interest.

“Those who have yet to make their choice and are hoping to become ministers, yes well it will be as if the door has been closed tight. Almost all of the ministerial posts have been wiped off the table”, said Prayitno.

Aside from this negative effect, Prayitno said that the BPN’s goal of raising the issue of seat allocations publically is in order to consolidate existing support for the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket.

Prayitno said that by providing certainty over ministerial posts, the PKS and PAN will make an all out effort to ensure that the former army Special Forces (Kopassus) commander and the former Jakarta governor will win the two top seats in the country.

“Citing the seat allocations will give the impression of confirming that the supporting parpols will get a seat allocation so there is no reason for the PKS, PAN and the Democrats not to go all out to ensure victory for the 02 [Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket]. Meaning ensuring that there will be no overlap on the issue of political concession within the BPN”, said Prayitno.

Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) political researcher Indria Samego is convinced that the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp had a rational consideration in publishing the allocation of ministerial seats.

According to Samego, publishing the ministerial seat allocations functions as an inspiration for the political parties supporting Prabowo.

“The people cited will be seen as having a following of voters so if A is taken, the followers will also gain lots of benefits”, he said.

This however has also in fact given rise to a new problem. Samego said that the statement on the division of seat could create divisions within the coalition supporting Prabowo.

The reason for this is that there are still other parties such as the Working Party who do not yet know if they will get a ministerial post.

“What about those that weren’t mentioned so as a result the parties could split because the interests of the people in the parpols who have already and not yet been accommodated will of course be different”, he said. (sah/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Bagi-bagi Jatah Menteri, Jerat Politik Dagang Sapi Prabowo”.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190402215315-32-383068/bagi-bagi-jatah-menteri-jerat-politik-dagang-sapi-prabowo