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Analysts: Expanded Coalition Creates Challenge for Indonesian Leader

Arie Firdaus
Jakarta
2019-10-18
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo entertains 30 Papuan children at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Oct. 11, 2019.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo entertains 30 Papuan children at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Oct. 11, 2019.
Presidential Palace/AFP

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo could be saddled with managing a huge coalition during his second term in office, analysts said, as five of nine political parties represented in parliament have declared their support.

Those five parties represent 349 of the 557 parliament seats – but Jokowi’s coalition could grow even larger if three parties that supported his challenger, Prabowo Subianto, join following recent meetings, the analysts said.

Such a move by Gerindra, the Democratic Party, and National Mandate Party would represent 525 seats. Only the Prosperous Justice Party remains firm in its opposition, according to the analysts.

“It would be detrimental for our democracy because there would not be a proper check and balance,” Ujang Komarudin, an Al Azhar Indonesia University political analyst, told BenarNews on Friday. “On the other hand, the coalition has the potential to stir an internal conflict since each party has its own vested interest.”

Jokowi and his running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, are to be sworn in as president and vice president for a five-year term on Sunday. Authorities will deploy 30,000 military and police personnel to secure the event.

Moving forward, Jokowi must manage the expanded coalition or could see a conflict among members as his term nears an end and candidates gear up for the 2024 election, Paramadina University political analyst Hendri Satrio said. Jokowi cannot seek a third term.

“The parties could go their own way to pursue their own interests, as we have seen during the past five years,” he said.

Amy Searight and Brian Harding of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) pointed out that the coalition partners are angling for cabinet posts where they can direct resources according to their interests.

“Notably, Jokowi has pledged that 55 percent of the cabinet will be composed of ‘professionals’ rather than political party leaders, with the core economic team expected to be filled by technocrats, including the current finance minister Sri Mulyani in some capacity,” Searight and Harding said in a report, “Jokowi 2.0: Policy, Politics and Prospects for Reform.”

“He has also said the cabinet will include millennials, as well as at least one ethnic Papuan.”

Public trust

A researcher at the anti-graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said Jokowi will be challenged to restore the public trust during his second term.

Students have held a string of protests urging the government to repeal controversial laws, such as the anti-graft law that serves as the legal basis for the establishment of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said corruption eradication could be a top legislative agenda since Jokowi has emphasized that he would not involve KPK in scrutinizing candidates for cabinet posts.

“Based on what has been happening, we can see that corruption eradication issue would be sidelined in the next five years,” he said.

Charles Honoris of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said he is optimistic that Jokowi will enjoy support during his second term. Honoris was referring to a survey earlier this month by Kompas daily showing Jokowi’s administration enjoying a satisfaction rating of about 58.8 percent.

“I think it shows that the public appreciates the work the government has done, despite the dynamics of the recent situation,” Honoris said. “I think it would be a good point for Jokowi and Ma’ruf Amin to govern the country for the next five years.”

Security measures

Leading up to Sunday’s event, security measures were beefed up following the stabbing of Security Minister Wiranto on Oct. 11. Wiranto is recovering at the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital in Jakarta and it is unclear if he will attend the ceremony.

On Friday, presidential guards practiced security measures in the parliamentary building compound following a show of force on Thursday by troops at the National Monument area.

Meanwhile, Jakarta police blocked roads in front of the parliament building on Friday.

“This is a security measure for the inauguration day. We will open the road again after the ceremony,” police spokesman Muhammad Nasir said.

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