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Jakarta Post

Golkar mulls long-term alliance with PDI-P

  • Bagus BT Saragih and Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 4, 2014   /  10:17 am

The prospect of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) winning the 2014 legislative election has prompted rival political parties to hatch plans to build a coalition with the party.

The Golkar Party '€” which according to a number of public opinion polls, stands a good chance of coming in second place in the 2014 legislative election '€” has openly expressed its interest in joining forces with the opposition party.

On Monday, respected Golkar politician Hajriyanto Thohari said that the party was considering building a long-term coalition with the PDI-P.

Hajriyanto said that his party had given thought to forming a '€œstrong and permanent'€ coalition with the PDI-P for '€œat least five [general] elections'€.

'€œI think 2014 is the perfect momentum to realize this desire,'€ he told reporters.

Hajriyanto said the country'€™s political landscape would be '€œstable but dynamic'€ under a Golkar-PDI-P alliance as the two parties would form a majority in the House of Representatives.

He claimed that it would also be easy for the two parties to coalesce given their nationalist platforms.

'€œWe are two of the country'€™s oldest parties. We both have similar nationalistic platforms. So the next question is why not?'€ he said.

Hajriyanto'€™s statement came only days after PDI-P secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo acknowledged that the PDI-P chairperson, former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, met with Golkar chairman and presidential candidate Aburizal Bakrie.

No details were released about the meeting.

Golkar members have expressed the hope that the party would build an alliance with the PDI-P, Hajriyanto said. '€œBut we can'€™t make it happen right away because Golkar is currently in a coalition pact with the ruling Democratic Party [PD],'€ he said.

Golkar is currently the biggest ally of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono'€™s PD, but in the past few years Golkar has often engaged in political collaboration with the PDI-P in the House to challenge Yudhoyono'€™s policies.

Another member of the government coalition, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has also made similar moves. However, unlike the PKS which lost one of its Cabinet posts due to its '€œrebellious'€ acts, Golkar ministers have remained, thanks to intensive diplomacy by the party'€™s seasoned politicians.

Tjahjo refused to comment on Golkar'€™s '€œinvitation'€ to form a permanent coalition. '€œWe haven'€™t thought about a coalition yet. We are still focusing on the legislative election,'€ he said.

Separately, PDI-P lawmaker Arif Wibowo said the party did not want '€œto be dictated'€ to by others when it came to coalitions. '€œIf we win the legislative election, we will have a free hand in forming a coalition for the presidential race,'€ he said.

Arya Fernandes, a political analyst with Charta Politika, said that it would be difficult for two parties with a similar degree of electoral support to form a coalition. '€œA strong party usually accepts smaller parties in an alliance to maintain its control,'€ he said.

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