Indonesia: Cabinet talks put strain on Jokowi’s ruling coalition

  • Now that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has secured a second term in office, parties are jostling for positions in his coalition, which may grow bigger than it already is as foes want to be friends.
  • The political parties that backed Jokowi in the presidential election may now have to make room for former allies of Jokowi’s challenger Prabowo Subianto, as the President has signalled to welcome them in a reconciliatory gesture after the polarizing election.
  • Prabowo’s coalition has officially broken up following the camp’s defeat at the Constitutional Court, but so far, only the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has asserted its commitment to remain in the opposition.
  • It was still unclear whether other Prabowo allies — the Gerindra Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party — would remain in opposition to Jokowi’s administration, especially as reports emerged that the three parties had been in negotiations to join the government.
  • NasDem, one of Jokowi’s supporting parties, expressed its objection on 2 Jul 19, with party secretary-general Johnny G. Plate saying the parties in the losing coalition should be consistent and retain their position as opposition parties, especially after the hard-fought election battle that saw Jokowi’s rivals make false claims against his government.
  • The parties’ main concern is, of course, a cutback in ministerial posts as a consequence of Jokowi’s intention to give opposing parties a stake in the ruling coalition.
  • United Development Party (PPP) secretary-general Arsul Sani said letting Prabowo allies join the camp was not easy, and he added that political parties in the incumbent’s coalition had responded negatively to the idea of welcoming the opposition parties.
  • Arsul said there had been a discussion among parties in the ruling coalition that the President should only accept one party if he really wanted to bring the opposition into the government — a signal that Jokowi might have to choose either Gerindra, the Democrats or PAN.

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