Pro-Govt Romahurmuziy Named New Chairman of PPP


APRIL 10, 2016

Jakarta. Pro-government politician Muhammad Romahurmuziy will lead the United Development Party, or PPP, for the next five years, a two-day national reconciliation congress by the long-divided Islamic-based party concluded late on Saturday (08/04).

The decision came after more than 1,000 participants at the congress, held in East Jakarta, agreed to decide the election through acclamation, as opposed to 87 who had requested a resolution through a vote.

"Based on agreement by all attendees, I hereby declare Romahurmuziy as party chairman for the 2016-2021 period," said Suharso Monoarfa, who led the election meeting.

"It is an honor for me. I never expected to lead this party when I was young," the 41-year-old Romahurmuziy said after his appointment.

Saturday's congress followed a prolonged leadership spat within the four-decade-old PPP, which has been split into two camps – led by Romahurmuziy and his contender Djan Faridz – since October 2014, three months after then-chairman Suryadharma Ali was named a graft suspect.

Romahurmuziy staged a party assembly in Surabaya, East Java, that month to remove Suryadharma, whose sympathizers subsequently held a separate shadow congress in Jakarta, where Djan Faridz was elected chairman.

The two factions have since engaged in legal battles over the PPP's leadership, and stood on opposing sides on several issues, including on legislative support for President Joko Widodo's administration.

Joko attended the PPP congress on Friday, when he expressed support for the party's reconciliation efforts.

Romahurmuizy's rival Djan meanwhile labeled the congress's result illegitimate.

"They [the Romahurmuziy camp] can call their organization anything they want, but I'm still the leader of the real, legitimate PPP," Djan said.