The vice president has managed to get competing factions within the Golkar Party to sign a truce. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

VP Kalla Possible Mediator in PPP Leadership Rift


JUNE 02, 2015

Jakarta. One of the two rivaling camps inside the United Development Party (PPP) wants Vice President Jusuf Kalla to mediate in the party's ongoing leadership dispute, following Kalla’s success in — at least temporarily — fixing a similar problem at the top of the Golkar Party.

The Islamic-based PPP, has been split into two camps since October, between those loyal to M. Romahurmuziy and those behind Djan Faridz, with both claiming to be the rightful party chairman.

Djan said he is hoping the vice president can become a mediator, as he did for Golkar, which is also split in two.

Kalla, himself a former Golkar chairman, on Saturday managed to get the two Golkar camps fighting for the chairmanship to sign a truce ahead of the elections in several provinces, districts and cities in December.

“I really hope J.K. will not only mediate [the split in] Golkar but also mediate the PPP [split],” Djan said on Monday, referring to the vice president by his initials.

But Djan said he only wants to talk with the minister of justice, Yasonna Laoly, and not with Romahurmuziy. “My dispute is with the justice minister. The court battle is between me and him, not with Romy,” Djan explained, referring to his rival by his popular nickname. “Romy is a rogue official. I have nothing to do with him.”

The Justice Minister earlier recognized Romahurmuziy's reign, but that decision was later annulled by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN). The minister has lodged an appeal to the PTUN ruling, preventing the PPP from registering its own candidate for the elections before the July 28 registration deadline.

Djan said he hopes the vice president can convince the minister to withdraw his appeal.

But the PTUN has only revoked the minister’s decree recognizing Romahurmuziy’s reign without specifying who now officially leads the PPP. Another court ruling is needed to determine who is the legitimate chairman of the PPP.

Meanwhile, the vice president said that neither Djan nor Romahurmuziy has so far approached him to ask for his help. However, he said: “If asked, I will be more than ready.”

Romahurmuziy's proposal

Romahurmuziy has also offered another "solution" to the conflict: for Djan to give up his claim and recognize his reign over the PPP.

“I invite my brother Djan Faridz for a reconciliation,” he said in a letter sent to Djan’s camp.

Quoting several verses from the Koran that stress the need for peace and unity among Muslims, Romahurmuziy wrote that Djan and his supporters may choose whatever positions they wish in the party structure, except for the chairman and secretary general posts.

“I have toured to 30 provinces and heard personally the many calls for the PPP to reconcile,” he wrote in the letter, adding that this would be necessary if the party wanted to field election candidates. “Therefore, lets not prolong the matter when you can end this dispute now."

Romahurmuziy  in October staged a party congress in Surabaya, East Java, to remove incumbent chairman Suryadharma Ali shortly after the latter was named a suspect in a graft case during his time as religious affairs minister.

Suryadharma and his supporters contend however that Romahurmuziy’s congress was not a legitimate forum for choosing a leader and a month later staged their own shadow congress and declared Djan Faridz as chairman.

Romahurmuziy told Djan in the letter that there is no reason for Djan to clean up Suryadharma’s mess. “Whatever SDA started, end it!” he wrote, referring to Suryadharma by his initials.