Despite Gerindra’s Approach, PKS Reviewing All Options

By : Jakarta Globe | on 10:53 AM April 29, 2014
Category : News, Politics

31 Partai keadilan Jakarta 1 JS_preview Former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid speaks at a rally in Jakarta in this file photo. (JG Photo)

Jakarta. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has decided to form a team to seek a possible coalition with several parties, including the Great Indonesia Movement party, or Gerindra, with officials saying they have decided not to be an opposition party in the House of Representatives.

PKS chairman Anis Matta on Sunday said his party is seriously looking into three possible coalitions and has formed teams to review the possibilities.

“The board of advisers has formed an efficient political communication team to more seriously review possible coalitions and one of them is with Gerindra,” Anis said.

He added that Gerindra was the party the PKS is most serious about as this party had submitted a clear proposal to the PKS.

“This is still just a general communication, it does not eliminate our talking with other parties,” Anis said.

The team set to review the move will be lead by PKS secretary general Taufik Ridho, and has as its members the chairman of the PKS faction in the House of Representatives Hidayat Nur Wahid, House deputy speaker Shohibul Iman, House Commission III deputy chairman Muzzammil Yusuf and KPS treasurer Mahfudz Abdurrahman.

Taufik said the communication with Gerindra will discuss the best coalition strategy possible to win the presidential election although most communications will be conducted in closed meetings. “If it doesn’t need to be exposed, why expose it? We are saying now that nothing is being covered up,” he said.

Taufik said his party was certain that its support would help Gerindra chief patron Prabowo Subianto be the next president. “Of course we are optimistic, life has to be lived with optimism,” Taufik said on Sunday when asked whether the party was optimistic about Prabowo’s chance in defeating the presidential candidate nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Joko Widodo.

PKS deputy secretary general Fahri Hamzah said on Monday that the chances of a coalition between his party and the Democratic Party were thin, as was a possible coalition with the Golkar Party. There had been no proposal from the Democratic Party.

“There is only a small chance [of forming a coalition with the Democratic Party], because they still have a long way ahead of them, with the presidential candidate convention. There are also surveys and other things,” Fahri said

PKS board of advisers member Ahmad Heryawan said PKS had decided it wanted to be in the government because that was the best way to have the party’s values and ideas accommodated.

“We can see that Prabowo is up there, and he has officially sent a letter to us to form a coalition,” Ahmad said. “In terms of a vice presidential candidate, that can be discussed later. For example, if there are four political parties in the coalition, only then will all of us sit down together and discuss the matter.”

Political analyst from the University of Indonesia Vishnu Juwono said Prabowo is very likely to form a coalition with an Islamic party to support his nomination as president, saying Prabowo has had strong ties with Islamic leaders since his stint as a military officer.

“Prabowo Subianto is known as an individual with strong Islamic leanings during his career in the TNI [Indonesian Military]. Of course, he has a long relationship with leaders from Islamic parties,” he said on Monday during a discussion titled “The Search for the People’s Ideal President” in Jakarta.

However, Vishnu said Prabowo’s move to partner with an Islamic political party may not be easy, considering he will have to compete with Golkar Party chairman and presidential candidate Aburizal Bakrie in earning the group’s support.

“Prabowo and Aburizal will have to face tight competition in fulfilling the required 25 percent of the popular vote or 20 percent of seats at the House of Representatives before nominating a presidential and vice presidential candidate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Emrus Sihombing, a political analyst from Pelita Harapan University (UPH), said that Joko’s nomination as president can only be defeated by the forming of an Indonesia Raya coalition, an idea suggested by National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais, which seeks to bring together every Islamic party.

According to Emrus, such a scenario was possible as political parties were still in the search for presidential candidates and their running mates.

“It’s possible. Politics is dynamic, transactional and they could do that in a matter of seconds. For Joko to be defeated, these parties should unite,” he said, as quoted in a report by

Emrus also added that Joko benefitted from having a number of coalition options arrayed against him as it would divide constituents into different groups. “If there are three or four axis, Joko will win,” he said.

For Joko to be defeated, however, Islamic and nationalist parties would have to come together to form a coalition.

“If Islamic parties form a coalition without including nationalist parties, then it may not work out. Unless Islamic parties would get together with nationalist parties, excluding the PDI-P, then the political scene will be very different,” he said.

“Joko will be left alone and he may not even nominate himself because he may not reach the 20 percent threshold. If you want a strategy, then that would be the only way. Combine all parties without PDI-P. That would be powerful.”

Emrus conceded, however, that such a move was near impossible, as it would be difficult to unite every other political party into a big coalition, considering the different vision and mission each party may have.

“It’s not easy, but everything should be considered. Because if this Indonesia Raya axis were to come together, it could be threatening for Joko,” he said.

Separately, Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he wanted his party to get a clear role in a coalition instead of being included in a coalition for the sake of fulfilling requirements needed to nominate a presidential candidate.

“Yudhoyono said he did not want us to be a filler. He wants us to take part,” Democratic Party central executive board chairman Sutan Bhatoegana said on Sunday.

Sutan added that there was still a chance for the Democratic Party to form a coalition with other political parties, and that if other parties had a similar platform then it would be easy for a political cooperation to materialize.

According to him, his party has been talking with other parties, although he declined to name any names.

“As long as a party has a similar platform, then we are willing to form a coalition,” he said.

Sutan remained positive that the Democratic Party had a strong bargaining position despite its unsatisfactory performance in the recent legislative election, emphasizing that Yudhoyono remained an important figure in attracting the public and other parties.

“It’s true what people are saying, The SBY name is still a determining factor,” he said.

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