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Jakarta Post

Megawati to attend NasDem congress amid simmering tension with PDI-P

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 8, 2019   /   04:40 pm
Megawati to attend NasDem congress amid simmering tension with PDI-P Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the fifth PDI-P congress in Sanur, Bali, on Aug. 8. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Amid tension between two ruling coalition members, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the NasDem Party, PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri is slated to attend the opening of NasDem’s national congress on Friday in Jakarta.

PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto told the media on Friday that Megawati planned to attend the event.

"[Megawati] will attend," Hasto said after attending an event at the National Archives in West Jakarta.

Hasto denied that the two parties were at odds following NasDem Party chairman Surya Paloh's meeting with the leader of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a party outside the ruling coalition, during which Surya highlighted the importance of having checks and balances in the government, even though three NasDem members are in the Cabinet.

Hasto said talks among political party leaders was normal as it was a part of democratic practices.

Speculation is rife that Surya is preparing a grand strategy for 2024, with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as one of the party's potential presidential candidates. The party claims there is nothing political about inviting Anies to open its congress.

Amid the speculation, the party said it would devise its strategy for the 2024 general election in the upcoming congress and that it was aiming to take over the PDI-P’s role as the nation’s largest party.  

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo jokingly commented on Surya’s maneuvering on Wednesday, saying that Surya appeared to look brighter after his meeting with PKS chairman Sohibul Iman's meeting in October, and that the way Surya embraced Sohibul at the time was unusual.

"I don't know the meaning [of the embrace], but it was unusual. I have never been embraced like that," Jokowi said during a speech at Golkar Party’s 55th anniversary event at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta.

Hasto also commented on the apparent closeness between NasDem and the PKS, saying a party should be consistent in its political stance, whether it wanted to be in or outside the government.

“Dialogue between political party leaders is indeed part of our tradition, but consistency is also very important," Hasto said.

PDI-P executive Ahmad Basarah, meanwhile, said that separation between two allies was natural in politics, "Regrouping in politics is normal. There is no eternal friendship nor eternal hostility," he said.

NasDem executive Saan Mustofa said on Thursday that he believed Jokowi's statement on Wednesday was a joke that reflected the President’s closeness to Surya.

Saan said he was sure that Jokowi understood NasDem's strategy of approaching the PKS.

“If Jokowi was unhappy with it, he should have let us know from the start," Saan said, adding that NasDem had planned meetings with other non-coalition parties, namely the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party since last week. (ggq)