The status quo in Indonesia's legislative assemblies is set to continue, as major parties dominated the election and new parties tanked. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Legislative Landscape Unchanged as Newcomers Fail to Break Ranks


APRIL 18, 2019

Jakarta. The 2019 legislative election has left little surprise as major parties are expected to keep the status quo in the country's legislative assemblies. 

New political parties such as Beringin Karya (Berkarya), the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo) and the Garuda Party are unlikely to win any seats at the House of Representatives in the next five years. 

Quick count results from pollster Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) showed the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the party backing incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the presidential election, leading the legislative election with 19.5 percent of the total votes, bettering its 2014 performance.

The nationalist party was within a sampling error distance to the coveted 20 percent threshold that would allow it to nominate a presidential candidate on its own right in the next election in 2024.

Prabowo Subianto's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) meanwhile is expected to supplant the veteran Golkar Party in second place.

The latter slipped by more than two percentage points in Wednesday's (17/04) election, that came just months after massive corruption scandals involving senior members of the party were exposed.

Observers are attributing the rise in votes for PDI-P and Gerindra to a coattail effect from the performance of their presidential candidates. 

But data suggest the effect many not be felt by all the parties in Jokowi's coalition.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) and National Democratic Party (Nasdem) did see a 10 percent and 8.9 percent vote increase respectively.

And yet Golkar only won 12 percent of the total votes, its worst performance in history. Chief Security Minister WIranto's People's Conscience Party (Hanura) even failed to reach the four percent parliamentary threshold. 

Among Prabowo's coalition, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a party with affiliations to Ikhwanul Muslimin, a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt, is set to progress the most.

The party is likely to secure more than eight percent of the votes this year, its best performance since it was founded in 1998.

PKS could have risen at the expense of its fellow Islamic parties, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).

Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party also tanked, winning the least number of votes since 2009. 

A total of seven parties (out of 16 contesting the election) are expected to fail to pass the parliamentary threshold or win any seat at the House of Representatives, including all four of the new parties plus Hanura, the Indonesia Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB).

Overall, Jokowi's current coalition is expected to control 56 percent of the seats at the House of Representatives, with Prabowo's coalition controling the rest. This division can still change though, as past elections showed parties can jump ship all too easily.