With Hary Tanoe as co-pilot, Hanura takes off
Margareth S. Aritonang and Hasyim Widhiarto
The Jakarta Post
The Hanura Party, chaired by Wiranto, the former commander of the Indonesian Military (TNI), will likely evolve from a minor party to at least a medium-sized one after the April 9 legislative election, thanks in no small part to media baron Hary Tanoesoedibjo.
Hary ' the president of the MNC Group, which controls national channels RCTI, Global TV, MNC TV and the Seputar Indonesia daily, along with several other printed and online news portals ' began upping Hanura's popularity last year when he joined the party after a falling out with Nasdem Party patron Surya Paloh, another media mogul.
Hanura has named Hary the running mate for presidential hopeful Wiranto and is projecting it will win at least 13 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election. Its future ambition is to become one of the big four parties.
'His [Hary's] presence in the party has undoubtedly opened up opportunities for the public to know Hanura due to the media companies he has. Before that, we had limited access to the media, but now we have several outlets from radio stations to online portals to tell the public everything about the party. Pak Hary's influence and personal network are also a great support for us because those who support him will also give their support to the party,' Wiranto once said in an interview with The Jakarta Post.
Meanwhile, Hary said that when he left Nasdem he was courted by several political parties but that he had chosen Hanura because of Wiranto, with whom he said he shared the same kind of idealism.
'Fighting for change ' a developed Indonesia ' is my end goal. We have to do this through a political party. We cannot fight without a vehicle,' Hary said.
Wiranto left the Golkar Party and formed Hanura in November 2006 after his failed bid in 2004 to win both the Golkar chairmanship and internal support for his presidential run with Salahuddin Wahid, the brother of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, as his running mate.
Former vice president Jusuf Kalla was instead elected Golkar chairman, taking over the post from senior politician Akbar Tandjung, current head of Golkar's influential advisory council.
Like other so-called nationalist parties in the country, Hanura promotes clean and good governance that upholds democracy, the country's philosophy of Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
It also aspires to develop regional autonomy, which the party believes is crucial for accelerating development across the archipelago.
Wiranto and the party's other politicians repeatedly emphasize Indonesia's need for leaders of conscience, harking on the party's tagline and longer name: the People's Conscience Party.
Considered a relatively new player on Indonesia's political map, Hanura's popularity has skyrocketed after Hary joined the party began appearing frequently along with Wiranto on programs aired by MNC networks.
Both party leaders, for example, were appearing every morning on two shows ' Indonesia Cerdas (Smart Indonesia), and Kuis Kebangsaan (Nationality Quiz) ' aired by RCTI and Global TV for five months before the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) forced the stations to pull the shows for blatantly advertising for the Wiranto-Hary presidential ticket.
Despite a slap on the wrist from the KPI, Wiranto then appeared disguised as a pedicab driver in the reality show Mewujudkan Mimpi Indonesia (To Realize the Dream of Indonesia), aired by RCTI last month.
MNC corporate secretary and Hanura's deputy campaign manager Arya Sinulingga, however, rejected allegations that the corporation had been campaigning for the Wiranto-Hary ticket through its programming.
'First, it's impossible for us to sacrifice business for other things, including politics. Business is business. Second, the [Wiranto] figure, to some extent, has an appeal to attract our audience. The program in which Pak Wiranto appeared as a pedicab driver, for example, had a rating of more than 18 points. For a program aired in the afternoon, that score is very good,' he said.
'Our newsrooms are independent. We report news about all political parties every day.'
In the 2009 election, Hanura won 3.21 percent of the vote, and it currently holds 17 of the total 560 seats in the House of Representatives.
Ten minor parties ' which failed to meet the threshold set by the General Elections Commission (KPU) to participate in the 2014 elections ' have also joined Hanura and thrown their support behind Wiranto.
Recent polls have shown that Wiranto's popularity has been increasing and likely driving up the appeal of his party. A survey by the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last year revealed that the number of respondents saying they would vote for Hanura had increased from 0.7 percent in January to 2.2 percent in April. Meanwhile, another poll by the Political Climatology Institute (LKP) revealed in September 2013 that Hanura's electability had risen to 10.9 percent from 6.3 percent in May.
Hary sees one outcome of this trend.
'Victory. If we talk about trends, we talk about statistics. Compared to other parties and presidential candidates, Hanura has risen significantly. If we drew a six-month graph, Hanura would be leaping ahead while others would only be inching up, flat-lining or even declining. The challenge for us now is how to maintain that trend,' he said.