Parties gang up on Prabowo
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Another stumbling block has been placed in the path of Prabowo Subianto’s presidential ambitions by rival political parties, with their factions at the House of Representatives agreeing to maintain a law that already places a high threshold for the presidential nomination.
Major political parties at the House have expressed a preference for the current threshold of 20 percent of seats at the House or 25 percent of the popular vote, a preference that could serve to quash Prabowo’s lofty ambitions.
“We will propose to maintain the requirements set by the current presidential election law, because it puts reasonable terms and conditions on a candidate to run in the presidential election,” Golkar Party faction leader Setya Novanto said.
The Presidential Election Law No. 42/2009 stipulates that a political party or coalition of political parties can nominate a presidential ticket if it secures 20 percent of seats at the House or 25 percent of the popular vote.
Contacted separately, Democratic Party faction leader at the House Nurhayati Ali Assegaf said that her faction would stick to the current presidential election law and emphasized: “Not only is the current law still effective, but also lawmakers did not have much time to deliberate a new law”.
Smaller political parties have also thrown their weight behind the major parties’ proposal to maintain the existing presidential election law.
The National Mandate Party (PAN) has announced its preference for keeping the threshold of between 20 percent and 25 percent.
PAN however said that it would accede to a minor adjustment.
“We think that it’s unnecessary to revise the 2009 law. The presidential threshold requirement is not a major issue for us because we can always build partnerships with other political parties later,” PAN executive Viva Yoga Muladi told The Jakarta Post.
Viva, however, declined to comment on the view that the party’s stance on the presidential election threshold was aimed at blocking Prabowo’s candidacy.
Speculation was also rife that members of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s ruling coalition had joined forces to block any proposal for amending the 2009 presidential election law, with the sole purpose of closing the door on the candidacy of Prabowo, who has seen his popularity grow in opinion polls.
Earlier, the leadership of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) expressed its displeasure at the coalition with the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) in the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election.
Several PDI-P leaders agreed that the party was unlikely to extend a partnership forged with Gerindra in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election following Prabowo’s boast that he contributed the most to the victory of the apparent winner, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Analysts are suggesting that Prabowo’s Gerindra will only garner a minority of the vote due to internal party rifts and lack of a presence in the country’s far-flung regions.
Prabowo’s chances may only improve if Gerindra forms a coalition with the Democratic Party, Golkar, or the PDI-P. Gerindra currently holds 26 of the total 560 seats at the House.
Gerindra politicians at the House have long campaigned for the lowering of the presidential election threshold.
“A lower presidential threshold will allow more candidates to join the race. Having said that, the candidacy of our chief patron will give voters more alternatives,” member of the Gerindra central board Martin Hutabarat said on Wednesday.