With an eye on the 2024 elections, Moeldoko’s coup wrests control of Democrats

Tirto.id – March 6, 2021
Moeldoko posing for photograph after interview with Antara in Jakarta – June 29, 2020 (Antara)

Zakki Amali – The accusations by Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) have been proven true after the passing of several weeks. The former infantry major accused Moeldoko, a retired TNI (Indonesian military) general, of meeting with leading Democrat Party members and prepared a coup d'etat to take over his leadership of the party.

Moeldoko repeatedly denied this. The TNI commander-in-chief when Agus' father former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) was in power, even countered this with accusations that his former boss was being touchy and over emotional, and saying that the meetings with Democrat Party leaders were just to have a coffee.

Former Democrat Party leaders however then initiated an extra ordinary congress (KLB) in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, on Friday March 5 where they offered Moeldoko the position of general chairperson, and from the other end of the phone he agreed to this.

Moeldoko did not personally attend the congress when the hundreds of gathered people declared him as their choice for party chairperson. He was at his office at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Friday afternoon.

Communicating by phone, Moeldoko initially questioned the legal procedures for determining a party general chairperson. Those at the congress were of the view that all of the legal principles had been met.

After deeming this to be sufficient, Moeldoko declared is readiness to accept the position and expressed his thanks to the congress participants. Moeldoko only presented himself to the congress on Friday evening where smiling, he made a victory speech, after seizing the Democrat Party leadership from the Yudhoyono family.

Following the extraordinary congress, a press conference was subsequently held by AHY and SBY.

"[Moeldoko] was always evasive, now it's blatantly obvious. Of course this shoots down all of the statements he made before. When he said he didn't know anything about it, wasn't involved, even saying it's all an internal Democrat Party problem", said AHY at a press conference after Moeldoko was elected by acclamation at the extraordinary congress.

AHY pinned all kinds of rotten labels on Moeldoko's political coup d'etat calling it an illegal KLB, an unethical KLB, an illegitimate KLB, a criminal KLB, an unconstitutional KLB.

"Only 7 percent of eligible voters were present at the illegal KLB. We had already expelled them before the illegal KLB began. They were paid, enticed by money, position and dreams of holding power by methods which were dishonorable", said a snarling AHY.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, AHY's father and head of the Democrat Party's supreme assembly was saddened by the coup d'etat, and again reminded people that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had ignored a letter from his son to hand down sanctions against Moeldoko as the presidential chief of staff for using unconstitutional means to take the Democrats away from him.

Up until the final seconds leading up to the extraordinary congress, AHY had asked the Widodo government to restrain Moeldoko, but there was no response to the request.

The police admitted that the extraordinary congress had no permit but did not close it down as AHY and SBY had asked. On two occasions requests for help were ignored by the Widodo government making SBY convinced that a role was being played by someone in the inner circles of power.

"The Democrat Party is in mourning, actually the Indonesian nation is also in mourning, mourning because common sense is dead [...] Moeldoko conspired with people who had the nerve and cold bloodily carried out this coup d'etat", said Indonesia's 6th president from his private residence in Puri Cikeas, Bogor, on Friday.

Disaster for the Democrats

Moeldoko's political coup d'etat attracted much condemnation from political analysts and politicians. The executive director of Voxpol Research Center and Consulting, Syarwi Pangi Chaniago, said that an external party was colluding to find a political vehicle in preparation for the next legislative and presidential elections in three years time.

In order to know who benefited most from the political coup d'etat it will become apparent by mapping out the involvement of actors in holding the extraordinary congress. Pursuing illegal means to take control of a political party, he said, will influence the quality of Indonesian democracy, as quoted by the Antara state news agency.

Similar suspicions were expressed by political analyst Ubedilah Badrun from the Jakarta State University who said that forcing through an extraordinary congress further strengthens suspicions that there are interests wanting to weaken the Democrat Party in the 2024 elections.

"If we analyse who will benefit most from weakening the Democrat Party, then we link it with the 2024 presidential elections, we can see the common thread running through it", said Badrun as quoted by Antara.

The crisis in the Democrat Party also grabbed the attention of National Democrat Party (Nasdem) General Chairperson Surya Paloh. Nasdem, which was the first political party to form a coalition with the Widodo administration, issued a statement condemning the coup d'etat and regretting that it had to have happened, because the Democrats have their own sovereignty as a party in accordance with the principles of Indonesian democracy.

"The Nasdem party expresses its deep concern over the crisis that has occurred in the Democrat Party. We hope that the crisis and all of the accompanying problems can be resolved properly, elegantly and by continuing to safeguard the party's honor", said Paloh. (tirto.id – Politik)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KLB Partai Demokrat: Kudeta Malu-Malu Moeldoko ke AHY & SBY".]

Source: https://tirto.id/klb-partai-demokrat-kudeta-malu-malu-moeldoko-ke-ahy-sby-gaT7