Jakarta. The opposition National Mandate Party, or PAN, has officially joined the pro-government Awesome Indonesia Coalition, or KIH, its chairman said on Wednesday.
“Today we announce that we have joined [the KIH],” Zulkifli Hasan, who is also the speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), said at a press conference at the State Palace with President Joko Widodo.
“Previously we said that we support [the government], but now we’re saying we’ve become a part of the coalition to help the government make their programs a success.”
Zulkifli said the decision to abandon the opposition Red-White Coalition (KMP) and align with the KIH had been thoroughly discussed by the party leadership.
“This is for the benefit of the republic; it’s not for personal, party or group interests,” Zulkifli said, referring to slowing economic growth that he argued called for a full support of the government by all parties to deal with.
President Joko commended the PAN for putting the interests of the state and Indonesian people above its own.
“I hope that with the PAN joining the government, we will have a united spirit to make a better future for Indonesia,” he said.
Prior to the announcement, Zulkifli met in private with Joko, PAN secretary general Eddy Soeparno, and Wiranto, chairman of the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), a KIH coalition partner.
The PAN is the fifth-biggest party in the House of Representatives, with 48 seats, or 8.8 percent of total seats.
During last year’s presidential election then-PAN chairman Hatta Rajasa ran as the vice presidential candidate to the KIH’s Prabowo Subianto.