Prabowo’s coalition partners waver as they wait for election dispute ruling

Tempo – June 25, 2019
Prabowo and coalition party leaders attend GNPF event – July 27, 2018 (Tempo)
Prabowo and coalition party leaders attend GNPF event – July 27, 2018 (Tempo)

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The political parties in Prabowo Subianto’s electoral coalition will determine whether or not they will stay in opposition or join incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s camp after the Constitutional Court (MK) hands down its decision on the presidential election dispute next Thursday.

None of the parties so far have yet said explicitly that they will cross over to the Widodo camp.

Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Executive Board Chairperson Ahmad Riza Patria said that after the Constitutional Court hands down its verdict, Gerindra will hold negotiations on whether it will become the opposition or join Widodo’s Working Indonesia Coalition (KIK).

“We will evaluate 10 years of being in opposition, what were the pluses and minuses. Before, the P-DIP [Widodo’s ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle] was also in opposition for 10 years and it had its pluses and minuses”, said Patria at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday June 24.

A similar view was expressed by National Mandate Party (PAN) Executive Board Chairperson Saleh Partaonan Daulay. Daulay said that the party with the white sun logo will carry out an evaluation to determine which way it will go following the Constitutional Court ruling.

“We’re waiting for the results of the MK ruling first. In terms of political ethics it’s like that right. After that, we’ll carry out an evaluation, what did we actually get out of the pilpres [presidential election] and the pileg [legislative elections]?”, said Daulay at the parliamentary complex.

So far, said Daulay, PAN has not gained any significant coattail effect from supporting the loosing presidential ticket of Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno.

“We lost four seats in the DPR [House of Representatives]. Because of this we will conduct an evaluation into whether or not we will remain in constructive opposition or will assist the government”, said Daulay.

Meanwhile Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) Executive Board Chairperson Mardani Ali Sera claimed that Prabowo’s Just and Prosperous Coalition is still solid. When asked about what direction the PKS would take following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, Sera declined to answer.

PKS executive Ledia Hanifa meanwhile said that the PKS is reluctant to speculate about things that have not yet happened. “Ask me later after the MK’s ruling”, said Hanifa when contacted by Tempo yesterday.

The Democrat Party meanwhile is giving fairly clear signals. While waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling, Democrat Party Advocacy and Legal Aid Division Chairperson Ferdinand Hutahaean says that in principle the Democrats are ready to join either coalition.

“If Jokowi invites us to join him, of course we’re ready. Political communication between SBY [Democrat Chairperson Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono], AHY [Yudhoyono’s son and Democrat Party politician Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono] and Pak [Mr] Jokowi is very good and fluid. So there are no obstacles to the Democrats joining the Jokowi administration”, said Hutahaean when contacted separately.

The deputy chairperson of the Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin election campaign team (TKN), Arsul Sani, said that the Widodo coalition has never closed the door to parties from the opposing coalition joining the government coalition.

Sani also did not deny that the TKN is most interested in forming a coalition with Prabowo’s Gerindra.

“There are indeed sections of the party in the KIK which are have more respect for Gerindra. There are also those who are of the view that it’s appropriate to make an offer to Gerindra (to join the government coalition)” said Sani at the parliamentary complex yesterday.

According to Sani, some sections of the coalition believe that Gerindra as a rival contestant in the elections was “gentle” and did not encourage the groups supporting it to act in an anarchistic way.

“It’s this position which has made some our colleges in the coalition respect Gerindra greatly. Once again, whether or not Gerindra is amenable (to join us) or not, yes well the ball’s in their court”, said Sani.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Partai Koalisi Prabowo Tentukan Jadi Oposisi Setelah Putusan MK”.]