Indonesia: Agus’ takeover of leadership opportunity for party consolidation

  • The handover of Democratic Party leadership from former party chairman and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to his eldest son Agus Hartimurti Yudhoyono is an opportunity for the party to consolidate and prepare for the upcoming 2024 election, observers have said.
  • Agus was elected as the new party chairman to replace his father after a plenary session in the party’s fifth national congress in Jakarta on 15 Mar 20.
  • He entered the political arena in 2016 when he ran for the governorship of Jakarta, with Sylviana Murni as his running mate, marking a career shift after 16 years in the military. Agus had served as the party’s deputy chairman since Oct 19.
  • Centre for International Strategic Studies (CSIS) researcher Arya Fernandes said Agus’ leadership came at a challenging time for the party as it had suffered a steady decline in votes.
  • “Agus starts with an uneasy situation. There is a declining trend in votes for the party in legislative elections, 20% in 2009, 10% in 2014 and 7% in 2019,” said Arya. “It is a big task for AHY to put the brakes on such a decline.”
  • The Democratic Party finished seventh in the 2019 legislative election, gaining 7.64% of the vote. Such a position will make it difficult for Agus to run for the presidency in the 2024 election, Arya said, considering that the current presidential threshold – the minimum share of the legislative vote parties have to win to nominate a presidential candidate – was 20%, meaning that the Democratic Party had to form a coalition with other parties to nominate Agus to run for president.
  • Pollster KedaiKOPI Kunto executive director Adi Wibowo warned that voters would doubt Agus’ leadership capabilities in the 2024 election if he had not had any political achievements or concrete successes before the race.

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