The Jakarta Post
A member of the Golkar Party faction that supports Aburizal Bakrie has openly conveyed his disappointment at the National Mandate Party's (PAN) recent decision to side with the government of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, arguing that the party had fallen prey to the persuasive tactics of the ruling coalition.
Bambang Soesatyo, treasurer of the Golkar faction siding with the opposition Red-and-White Coalition (KMP), revealed on Saturday that Jokowi's government had finally secured the support of PAN after having previously failed to lure away other members of the coalition, allegedly by using transactional politics and the promise of power sharing.
'The offer of strategic posts was not just directed at PAN ' in fact, the olive branch was extended to [other members of the KMP] long before Golkar and PPP [the United Development Party] became mired in disputes,' Bambang said during a press conference in Jakarta.
According to him, President Jokowi had tempted KMP members at every opportunity with six to eight ministerial posts in exchange for jumping ship. He said the offers were met with 'subtle rejection' by the KMP, which argued that they needed to fulfill the role of opposition on occasions when the government had to be criticized.
PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan previously announced that it would support the government to help create political stability at a time when the nation was starting to suffer the consequences of the economic downturn.
Bambang said that his party faction was clearly disappointed at PAN's sudden move, even going as far as to say that the party was dabbling in the 'politics of polygamy'.
Even so, he said he believed PAN would eventually return to the KMP once it realized that the strategy bore no fruit.
The head of PAN's central executive board, M. Nazib, insisted that the party had opted to formally support the government in order to break the logjam among the rival camps and prevent the nation from falling into a deeper crisis.
Nazib then proceeded to invite everyone to join forces in a so-called Nusantara Coalition to remedy the faltering economy, while also claiming that PAN did not consider the offer of strategic posts when deciding to support the current administration.
'We've never thought of it as power sharing, but as responsibility sharing,' he told reporters on Saturday.
In this context, political analyst Hanta Yuda said that Jokowi could take advantage of PAN's entry into government as a means for setting up an alternative locus of support that he could rely on when both the ruling Greater Indonesia Coalition (KIH) and the KMP were at odds with any of his policies or decisions.
Hanta said that Jokowi could no longer rely on the duality that was prevalent during former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's era, when political forces were divided between those inside government and outside.
According to him, the current political constellation had grown to include divisions within Jokowi's own party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), thus turning it into a tripolar struggle between the State Palace, the ruling coalition under PDI-P matron Megawati Soekarnoputri and the opposition.
The Poltracking Indonesia executive director said that Jokowi should seek to establish a more stable multipolarity, as managing a power struggle among the three could become dangerous if not handled well.
'From the President's perspective, I can see how he would be able to establish a new locus of power with PAN ' their so-called national coalition would be able to attract one or two parties,' Hanta said on Saturday after the event.
Even so, he said the President would need to have a solid team of negotiators in order to achieve the desired results. 'Otherwise, a deadlock could emerge to prevent political stability,' he added.
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