PKB and PPP Cozying Up to Jokowi

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, surrounded by residents during a visit to inspect the aftermath of a slum fire in West Jakarta, in this file picture taken April 9, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Enny Nuraheni)

By : Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Robertus Wardi | on 10:17 PM April 28, 2014
Category : News, Politics, Featured


File picture shows Jakarta's Governor Joko Widodo surrounded by residents during his visit to inspect the aftermath of a slum fire area in west Jakarta Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, presidential candidate for the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). (Reuters Photo/Enny Nuraheni)

Jakarta. After making official its coalition with the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) earlier this month, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has also sealed a coalition deal with the National Awakening Party (PKB), officials from both parties said on Monday.

Founded by former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, the PKB is reportedly offering two potential names to be PDI-P presidential candidate Joko Widodo’s running mate. PKB central executive board chairman Marwan Jafar said on Sunday evening that Muhaimin Iskandar and Mahfud M.D. were both potential contenders.

“Joko will be selecting the vice president because this is personal. This candidacy is very subjective. Sure, the political party will push forward [names] but the vice presidential candidate will depend on the presidential candidate — who will be the most fitting? Because this has to do with an individual, a partnership and chemistry,” Marwan said.

Previously Nasdem officials suggested Jusuf Kalla as the most suitable vice presidential candidate for Joko.

Marwan also added that both parties have thoroughly discussed their partnership and that the coalition will soon be announced officially, emphasizing that the PDI-P and PKB had a similar vision, mission and values.

“Members of Nahdlatul Ulama, [the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia, who comprise the PKB] and the Sukarno loyalist s [PDI-P] have a very good relationship. They can unite and win the presidential election for the betterment of the people’s welfare,” he said.

Marwan said the two political parties were looking for the right time to announce the partnership.

“What’s sure is that the PKB central executive board and the members are all solid, in one accord, and are all under one command: Muhaimin’s leadership,” Marwan said.

Separately, PDI-P deputy secretary general Ahmad Basarah also confirmed that both parties have reached an agreement to form a coalition together, but underlined that all parties will work together under Joko’s leadership.

“Everyone has to unite totally in being ministers under Joko Widodo,” Basarah said on Monday, adding that the partnership between the two parties was not based on transactional calculations.

“The partnership between the PDI-P and PKB is similar to that of PDI-P and Nasdem. There are similarities in ideology, platform and on having the same purpose. As such, the PKB has also agreed not to hold negotiations in terms of naming vice presidential candidates and ministries in the cabinet,” he said.

Meanwhile, “king of dangdut” Rhoma Irama, who had previously been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate from the PKB, has said he will continue communicating and maintaining a good relationship with the party, despite his apparently diminishing chances of a presidential bid.

“I don’t want there to be any friction or confrontation in the development of this nation. The PKB and I have agreed to maintain good relations,” Rhoma said on Monday.

He remained hopeful, however, saying that the PKB was yet to name their official presidential candidate and vice presidential candidates and that his name, along with that of Mahfud M.D. was still being mentioned.

The PKB’s inclusion of Rhoma as a potential candidate has been cited by many as a factor that increased the party’s appeal in the recent legislative elections.

Rhoma said that he would trust the PKB’s decision even if he ends up not being nominated, but said that ideally the PKB should hold a national working meeting to clarify its final stance.

“I am very ready to be nominated as president or as vice president, and I’m also ready not to be anything. I’ll leave everything to the party,” he said.

“I’ve met with Muhaimin recently, we talked privately about the latest political situation. And he is still committed to offering Rhoma [myself] and Mahfud as a presidential or vice presidential candidates. It is not true that I’ve has been scrapped. They are still holding political communications, and there have not been any political agreements.”

Aside from the PKB, the PDI-P is also likely to form a coalition with the United Development Party (PPP), with former PPP chairman Hamzah Haz reportedly visiting the PDI-P chairwoman Megawati at her home on Monday.

During the meeting, Hamzah was accompanied by PPP deputy chairman Soeharso Monoarfa, who claimed the two have been granted permission by the PPP board of advisers to attend the meeting.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hamzah Haz said the visit was intended to congratulate the PDI-P on their performance in the legislative elections.

“It’s about time for the PDI-P to lead the government, because it emerged a winner in every region, despite not reaching its maximum potential,” Hamzah said, adding that there was room for cooperation between the two parties.

Hamzah Haz said the PPP was the first party to mention Joko’s name as a presidential candidate in its national working meeting a few years back.

PDI-P secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said plans to partner with the PPP were still in an early phase.

“We are still communicating, [looking at] the PPP’s condition at the moment. That’s what was discussed earlier,” Tjahjo said after the meeting on Monday.

PDI-P central executive board chairwoman Puan Maharani, also said that there was a possibility for partnership with the PPP.

“On behalf of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati I would like to thank Hamzah as an old friend and an icon who assisted Megawati during her time as president,” she said. “This is our initial base in carrying out political communication with the PPP."

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