Nasdem Announces PDI-P Support, Golkar and PKB Refuse

President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Widodo. (SP/Joanito De Saojoao)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 5:38 PM April 12, 2014
Category : News, Politics, Featured

Jakarta. Media mogul Surya Paloh's National Democratic Party (Nasdem) has announced that it has thrown its support behind Joko Widodo and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI-P), as Indonesia's political parties continue to hold talks to build alliances after last week's legislative election failed to produce a clear winner.

“We have agreed to join forces to support the presidential candidate of the PDI-P— Nasdem will give its full support,” Surya Paloh, chairman of Nasdem, said in a press conference at the party's office on Saturday. “We want Indonesia to be great.”

The press conference was attended by Joko and senior members of bother Nasdem and the PDI-P. Nasdem received over 6 percent on Wednesday, according to quick counts, the PDI-P finished with just under 20 percent.

Surya said Nasdem would continue to hold dialogue with the PDI-P about forming common policy ground.

“We still have to discuss whether Nasdem will endorse any vice president, further discussion will be held in the next two or three days with PDI-P chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri,” Surya said.

Joko responded positively to the announcement, praising Surya for not seeking any guarantees regarding cabinet positions.

“We have put aside the idea of political transactions," Joko said. "We have agreed to avoid it. I respect Surya’s magnanimity by not putting forward a discussion about the vice presidency or the cabinet at this stage. It shows the magnanimity of a statesman."

Surya, who owns MetroTV and Media Indonesia newspaper, said he would contribute resources to a strategy that would pave the way for a Joko presidency.

“We’ll do land, sea and aerial attacks to win the hearts and trust of the people,” Surya said.

Former Golkar Party chairman Jusuf Kalla said the axis between Nasdem and PDI-P was predictable given the dialogue that had existed for years between the party chairs.

“It fits," Kalla said. "When Surya was with me at Golkar as head of the advisory board, he always communicated with the PDI-P. He was the one that bridged Golkar and PDI-P."

Kalla has previously indicated that he would be prepared to run for vice president under Joko.

After meeting Surya Paloh, Joko met with Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie — but no agreement was reached and Bakrie continues to say that he will not form a coalition with the PDI-P. 

“PDI-P has its own candidate," Joko said. "Golkar has its own candidate."

Joko did not, however, want to rule out a Golkar-PDI-P alliance after the election.

“We will meet later after the presidential election,” he said.

Bakrie said he would not stand in the way of Kalla running alongside Joko, but that the resources of the Golkar Party would be off limits to him during the campaign.

“It is fine, as long as he follows the party’s regulations,” Bakrie said on Saturday after meeting Joko.

Bakrie said he had yet to decide on his running mate.

“If the person is a man, he should be handsome," he said. "If the person is a woman, she should be pretty."

PKB Eyes Role

Marwan Jafar, the head of PKB’s central board, indicated that the party prioritized power sharing as a precondition for talks.

“It’s a good thing that cooperation is not solely about power sharing,” Marwan said. “But there should be power sharing in cooperation.”

Marwan said that the party’s board wanted chairman Muhaimin Iskandar to be made a vice-presidential candidate.  

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