The Jakarta Post
Democratic Party chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani, an executive of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), sat together on Thursday to discuss the two parties’ cooperation in the upcoming regional elections.
The PDI-P and Dems formed a coalition to nominate candidate pairs running for regional head posts in 28 of the 270 regions in the country that will participate in the elections, which are to be held simultaneously on Dec. 9.
"We have discussed the PDI-P and the Democratic Party's collaboration in the regional elections. Hopefully we can maintain the cooperation for the sake of the nation," Agus said after the meeting at the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.
Agus, the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, further said that he and Puan also touched on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the country's economy during their meeting.
Speaking to the press with Agus, Puan expressed her expectation for the PDI-P and the Democrats to continue maintaining their relations and that she looked forward to her next meeting with him.
"This is our first meeting since [Agus] was appointed chairman," Puan said. "I hope this isn’t the first and last meeting for us. We’ll maintain this friendship for this nation together."
In the 2019 presidential race, the Dems joined the coalition supporting the candidacy of Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, who went head-to-head against PDI-P-backed President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. After the latter won his reelection, Gerindra jumped ship to the ruling coalition since Prabowo was appointed a Cabinet member.
Both Agus and Puan – the daughter of former president and PDI-P matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri – are among those who might join the 2024 presidential election. However, thus far only Agus has declared his intention to run in the race.
Although the two are rather cordial when it comes to their ties, relations between Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the PDI-P chairwoman have been strained since he ran against then-president Megawati in the 2004 presidential election. He was serving in her Cabinet as the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister at the time.
Separately, Agus said that he hoped the Dems could return to their political glory in 2024 and secure more seats in the House than the current 54 gained in the 2019 legislative elections, a steep drop from the 150 seats the party won in 2009.
"This is not a baseless hope. Because we have had success,” he said.
The PDI-P currently has the most seats in the House with 128 after the ruling party secured 19.3 percent of the vote in the 2019 legislative race.