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Jakarta Post

Parties yet to decide on third alliance

  • Nurul Fitri Ramadhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 13, 2018   /   05:31 pm
Parties yet to decide on third alliance Playing politics: President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (center) shakes hands with Democratic Party executive Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (left), witnessed by party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during the opening of the party's 2018 national leaders meeting at Sentul International Convention Center (SICC), Bogor, West Java, on March 10. (Antara/Yulius Satria Wijaya)

The Democratic Party is giving serious consideration to approaching other political parties to form a third alliance to back an alternative presidential candidate.

Demoratic Party politician Andi Mallarangeng, who is also the party’s former advisory board secretary, said that forming a third alliance would be the best option for the 2019 presidential election because it would provide voters with another option to the two current contenders: incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.

“It would be ideal if there was a third alliance,” said Mallarangeng in a recent interview.

He said the Democratic Party was currently strengthening its communications with other parties, in particular the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN), which are both yet to declare their support for a presidential candidate.

The Democratic Party, which is led by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, cannot stand alone in the 2019 election as it only controls 61 seats in the House of Representatives. Under the current Election Law a party or coalition must control a minimum of 112 House seats to nominate a candidate.

The party is currently readying Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the eldest son of Yudhoyono, to run as a presidential hopeful.

The executives of the Democratic Party, PAN and PKB have held a meeting to discuss the formation of a coalition but no final decision has been reached as yet.

PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan indicated that it would be difficult to form a third alliance as there was no figure whose electability could beat that of Jokowi and Prabowo.

“Rationally, there will be two coalitions [Jokowi's and Prabowo’s]. If [we form] a third alliance then [we] would need a miracle,” Zulkifli said. “But the communication [with the Democrats and PKB] is still ongoing.”

Previously, many believed that PAN would form a coalition with Prabowo’s Gerindra Party and its ally, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), as they did for the West Java gubernatorial election and the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, which was won by Anies Baswedan last year.

“We have the right to decide. That’s why we are still in communication with other parties,” Zulkifli said.

The PKB has also played down a third-alliance plan. The party has tended to adopt a "wait and see" to forming a coalition as it seeks to endorse its party chairman Muhaimin Iskandar as a vice presidential candidate.

Recently, Muhaimin said the party was still waiting for input from the PKB and the clerics of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), before it made a decision. However, Muhaimin has shown signals that he still favors backing Jokowi.

“I am still comfortable with supporting Jokowi, with the PDI-P [Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle],” Muhaimin said. “I am confident Jokowi will choose me as his running mate.” (ebf)