Political ties between presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto and former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are fraying amid a war of words between their supporters. (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya)

Prabowo Coalition Shows Democrats the Door After Disbandment Suggestion


JUNE 09, 2019

Jakarta. The coalition of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has shown the Democratic Party the door after comments by a senior party official on the future of the coalition.

The Democratic Party, along with the opposition Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and National Mandate Party (PAN), supported Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno's candidacy in the April 17 election. 

But the relationship had soured in recent weeks, with key Democratic Party members, such as Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of party founder Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, making gestures to approach President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. 

Yudhoyono senior also showed his disapproval – in what many observers saw as a rare expression of displeasure by the usually restrained former president – of Prabowo referencing his late wife Ani Yudhoyono's political choice when the latter visited his home to extend condolences.

On Sunday, Democratic Party deputy secretary general Rachland Nashidik made the most explicit statement yet by calling on Prabowo to dissolve his coalition. 

Andre Rosiade, a spokesman for Prabowo's campaign team, was quick to respond by saying that the Democratic Party was free to leave the coalition at any time. 

"If they want out, please do so. That's their right," Andre said, adding that party had been working to undermine the coalition.

"While they are in this coalition, they keep maneuvering [behind our backs]. The public knows well after meeting Mr. Jokowi, the Democratic Party elites started changing their tone and showing that they want to leave. So please decide immediately," he said.

The Democratic Party's Rachland previously tweeted a call on Prabowo to dissolve the so-called Adil Makmur Coalition, which supported his candidacy in the 2019 presidential election.

Rachland said the coalition was no longer needed because the simultaneous elections were over.

"Mr. Prabowo, the election is over. The lawsuit in the Constitutional Court is a claim by the presidential candidate pair. It does not involve the parties. I suggest you immediately dissolve the coalition in our last official meeting. You are the coalition leader who invited us to join," he said. 



Rachland also called for the dissolution of Jokowi's 10-party coalition, which consists among others, of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Golkar Party, National Awakening Party (PKB), United Development Party (PPP), National Democratic Party (NasDem), Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI) and Perindo. 

"Maintaining the coalition means emboldening divisions at the grassroots. It means preserving hostilities and maintaining potential conflict within the community. The leaders must prioritize the safety of the nation," Rachland said.

He said the elected president should be able to freely choose ministers for his cabinet.

"Anyone who, after the Constitutional Court's decision, becomes the elected president is free to choose his assistants in the cabinet. The memories of which parties are loyal and useful for the elected president's political direction will not just disappear because the coalition has disbanded. That's the presidential system," Rachland said.