The Jakarta Post
The United Development Party (PPP) will suspend chairman Muhammad Rohamurmuziy after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) officially charged him with bribery on Saturday.
Romahurmuziy, an ally of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, was arrested on graft charges in East Java on Friday. The KPK accused him of involvement in bribery centering on the promotion process at the Religious Affairs Ministry.
The Islamic party’s central executive board will hold a meeting on Saturday evening to appoint an acting chairman. Romahurmuziy was supposed to end his tenure as party chairman in 2021.
“Our internal regulation stipulates that if a member is suspected of involvement in extraordinary crimes, she or he could be removed or suspended. Since he is a chairman, there will be an acting chairman who will be inaugurated in a special national working meeting in the near future,” PPP secretary-general Arsul Sani told reporters on Saturday.
He said the party did not rule out the possibility of holding a national congress to elect a new chairman. Romahurmuziy, he added, was also likely to lose his position within Jokowi’s campaign team.
Arsul called on the party’s rank and file to respect the legal process involving Romahurmuziy and refrain from taking any action that could be considered an obstruction of justice.
Romahurmuziy, who is also the chairman of the PPP faction at the House of Representatives, was arrested along with four suspects comprising ministry officials and private sector employees in different raids in East Java. From the operation, the KPK confiscated a sum of money that was allegedly exchanged in connection with the staffing case.
The PPP, the country’s oldest Islamic party but the smallest faction at the House, is a member of the ruling coalition and endorses Jokowi’s reelection bid.
Romahurmuziy’s arrest is a blow to both the PPP and Jokowi, with the legislative and presidential elections only a few weeks away.
Pollsters say the PPP is a political party that could fail to pass the minimum threshold required to enter the House.
“We are hoping that this incident will not affect our electability, but it is our responsibility to consolidate all members in the regions. We believe that with good and intense communication, we can reach our target to pass the parliamentary threshold,” Arsul said.