Indonesia: Dems cozy up to government coalition

  • The Democratic Party continued to make overtures to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s coalition over the Idul Fitri holiday, in an apparent attempt to ingratiate itself with the government camp.
  • The Dems, who officially backed Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto’s presidential bid in May 19’s election, have looked increasingly detached from the opposition coalition since election day, and the last week have seemed to further demonstrate their intention to switch sides.
  • On 3 Jun 19, Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his disapproval about comments Prabowo made regarding his recently deceased wife Kristiani “Ani” Herrawati’s political preferences, calling it “inappropriate.”
  • Later in the week, Yudhoyono’s eldest son and Democratic Party executive Agus Harimurti met with President Jokowi as well as Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri for an Idul Fitri greeting, while neglecting to visit Prabowo.
  • The Democratic Party’s commitment to the Prabowo cause had been in doubt ever since it reluctantly joined the coalition of parties supporting the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket in Aug 18, following a dispute over who would take the vice-presidential slot.
  • Indonesia Political Review executive director Ujang Komarudin said that given the party’s increasingly untenable relations with the opposition camp, it only had two options left: join the government coalition or stay in the middle.
  • The Democrats won 20.85% of the vote in the 2009 legislative elections, when Yudhoyono was at the height of his popularity, giving them more House of Representative seats than any other party.
  • The party fell to fourth place in the 2014 elections, garnering only 10.19%, and has fallen further in the latest elections down to 7.77%.
  • Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign team official and Gerindra executive Andre Rosiade has responded tersely to the Dems machinations, saying the party should feel free to join Jokowi’s coalition.

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