Thursday, December 7, 2023

PDI-P, Democrats Warm Up for High-Level Negotiations

Rio Abadi & Heru Andriyanto
June 12, 2023 | 11:31 pm
FILE - House Speaker Puan Maharani, left, receives a visit by Democratic Party Chairman at the legislature building in Jakarta on August 6, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Democratic Party)
FILE - House Speaker Puan Maharani, left, receives a visit by Democratic Party Chairman at the legislature building in Jakarta on August 6, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Democratic Party)

Jakarta. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDIP, and the Democratic Party have been warming up for a high-level meeting despite major differences between the two parties widely considered as the opposing camps in the country’s political spectrum.

If resulting in a collaboration for the 2024 presidential election, the meeting would deal a major blow to Anies Baswedan’s presidential bid.

The former Jakarta governor, who is nominated by the National Democratic Party or Nasdem, cannot afford to lose the support of the Democrats because it would mean his coalition fails to meet the threshold for the election.

The Indonesian election law requires a party of a coalition of parties to have at least 25 percent of House of Representatives seats to nominate a presidential candidate.


But a Democrat executive said on Monday the party will remain loyal to the coalition with Nasdem and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to get Anies on the ballot.

"It is important for everyone, including political parties, to engage in dialogue and maintain communication,” Hinca Panjaitan, the head of the Democratic Party’s ethics council, said of the planned meeting.

“It is crucial not to isolate oneself and remain open to interacting with anyone. Let us consider the meeting as a fresh source of energy to fuel our enthusiasm for building our nation and country."
Hinca’s remarks came a day after Democratic Party Secretary-General Teuku Riefky met with his PDI-P counterpart Hasto Kristiyanto in Jakarta.

Riefky said that the meeting was a warm-up for a more important session involving Democratic Party Chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and House Speaker Puan Maharani, who is also the daughter of PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.

But Riefky chose a careful tone when talking about the planned meeting.

"While we are very enthusiastic about the planned meeting between Sister Puan and Brother AHY, we will continue to uphold political ethics and respect each other’s position regarding the 2024 presidential election,” he said, referring to Agus by his initials.  

Puan has been appointed to lead the campaign team for PDI-P’s presidential nominee Ganjar Pranowo, who is still waiting for a running mate.

If Agus strikes a deal to jump ship for the PDI-P-led coalition, it will effectively end the coalition for Anies.

It’s a wild idea, however, to expect the PDI-P to forge a coalition with the Democratic Party for the presidential election given the history of their bitter relationship.

Prior to the country’s first-ever direct presidential election in 2004, future president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) resigned from the Megawati cabinet to found the Democratic Party, which became his political vehicle to join the race, alleging that the ruling class had sidelined him.

He went on to achieve back-to-back victories in the presidential elections, beating Megawati on both occasions and forcing her to position the PDI-P as the opposition party throughout SBY’s 10-year tenure.

History repeated itself, albeit in the opposing direction, with the Democratic Party becoming the opposition when PDI-P’s Joko Widodo became the president for two terms.

People say that politics is the art of the impossible and that old saying will be put to the test in the coming days.

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