The Jakarta Post
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has secured a much-needed coalition, clearing the way for him to contest the July 9 presidential election, after the NasDem Party announced on Saturday its support for the Jakarta governor's bid.
Most quick counts conducted after last Wednesday's legislative election said that the PDI-P garnered around 19 percent of the vote, forcing the party to seek coalition partners to pave the way for Jokowi's presidential run.
Support from the newly established NasDem, which quick counts said secured around 6.8 percent of the vote, makes Jokowi the first candidate eligible to run in the election.
At a press conference on Saturday after a closed meeting with Jokowi and PDI-P secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo, NasDem chairman Surya Paloh said that his party had agreed to ally with the PDI-P, mainly due to common political platforms.
'Both the PDI-P and NasDem understand that a stronger presidential system is needed to run an effective administration. Our presidential system is not just a theory: It must be implemented in practice,' Surya said.
Surya and Jokowi declined to comment on the political deals that had paved the way for their alliance, including which ministerial positions NasDem would hypothetically secure should Jokowi win the election.
However, Jokowi confirmed that Surya, an influential media tycoon and former Golkar Party official, would not be his running mate.
'I greatly admire Bang Surya Paloh for his unselfishness. [He] is not promoting himself for number two,' Jokowi said, referring to the vice presidency.
The Presidential Election Law requires a political party or a coalition of parties to win a minimum 25 percent of the popular vote or 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives to nominate a presidential candidate.
Later in the day, Jokowi visited Golkar headquarters in West Jakarta to meet the party's chairman, Aburizal Bakrie, whose presidential bid has been challenged by a number of fellow Golkar politicians following his relatively low popularity in the past several months.
In a joint press conference, Aburizal and Jokowi said that despite their rivalry, the PDI-P and Golkar planned to form a post-election alliance in the House to establish a strong government.
'Golkar and the PDI-P will still endorse their own presidential candidates [in the election]. However, we have agreed that whoever wins the election, we will support the president-elect and establish cooperation in the House,' Aburizal said, adding that as of Saturday, Golkar had not yet formed a coalition with any other political party.
Several quick counts put Golkar as the runner-up in the legislative election after it clinched around 15 percent of the vote.
PDI-P lawmaker and deputy secretary-general Eriko Sotarduga said his party was also interested in forming an alliance with the Islam-based National Awakening Party (PKB), which garnered around 10 percent of the vote in last Wednesday's election.
'The PKB says it is seeking a presidential candidate who is committed to issues like Indonesia's unity and food security. Those [criteria] are definitely included in the PDI-P's platform,' Eriko said during a discussion in Central Jakarta on Saturday.
PKB executive and Disadvantaged Regions Minister Ahmad Helmy Faisal Zaini, who was also present at the discussion, neither confirmed nor denied Eriko's statement, saying the PKB was currently in coalition talks with two prospective presidential candidates.
Looking at the quick count results and moves among the political parties following the legislative election, Indo Barometer political analyst Muhammad Qodari predicted that the presidential election would result in no more than three party coalitions, supporting the presidential bids of Jokowi, Aburizal and the Gerindra Party's Prabowo Subianto.
'President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party will likely endorse a vice presidential rather than a presidential candidate due to the absence of a sufficiently influential figure. There's also little possibility that Islamic-based parties, which together won some 30 percent of votes, will form a coalition for similar reasons,'