It appears that presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto has all the reason to resent the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)’s surprise decision to nominate the wildly popular Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as its presidential candidate.
A document outlining the political commitment of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri to support the presidential nomination of Prabowo — Gerindra Party chief patron — in the 2014 presidential election was leaked to the public only a day after the PDI-P announced the Jakarta governor’s nomination on Friday, providing PDI-P’s political opponents with a reason to question the integrity of the party and its leader.
The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, contains seven articles and was signed by Megawati and Prabowo on May 16, 2009, the day they registered with the General Elections Commission (KPU) as presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2009 presidential election.
Two articles, for example, stipulate that should Megawati and Prabowo win the 2009 election, the latter will be assigned to handle the country’s economic policies and granted a right to handpick related ministers, including agriculture minister, finance minister and energy and mineral resources minister.
The last article, considered the most crucial point, mentions Megawati will “support the nomination of Prabowo Subianto as a presidential candidate in the 2014 presidential election”. Prabowo is considered the most popular presidential candidate if Jokowi is taken out of the equation, according to various political surveys.
PDI-P deputy secretary-general Hasto Kristianto said he had learned about the leaked document but refused to comment on its authenticity. He, however, did not deny all the agreements outlined in the document.
“Such political agreements should be seen in the whole context, meaning all clauses in the document can only be implemented should the [Megawati-Prabowo] pair win the 2009 presidential election,” he said.
Law No. 42/2008 on the presidential election cites only a political party or a coalition that garners 20 percent of legislative seats or 25 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election is eligible to contest the presidential election.
In the 2009 election, the PDI-P only won 14.45 percent of the vote and desperately needed support from smaller parties, including Gerindra, to pave the way for Megawati’s presidential nomination.
Prior to Jokowi’s official nomination, Gerindra politicians repeatedly mentioned Megawati and Prabowo’s political agreement prior to the 2009 presidential election, known as the Batu Tulis pact, in hopes of winning the PDI-P’s support for a Prabowo nomination in this year’s presidential election.
Asked whether the document was intentionally leaked to attack Megawati’s integrity, Hasto said his party was ready to respond any political attack following its decision to nominate Jokowi.
Separately, Gerindra secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said he was sure the document was authentic but refused to comment on the allegation it was leaked intentionally.
Political analyst Yunarto Wijaya said the leak would not harm Jokowi’s presidential aspirations. “The agreement was made between two party elites. Jokowi has nothing to do with it. Even if the document is authentic, it might only change the public’s perception of Megawati, not Jokowi,” he said.
Yunarto also said that the PDI-P’s political opponents should have highlighted other issues, such as Jokowi’s decision to cut short his duty as Jakarta governor, to challenge his presidential nomination in an “elegant manner”.
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