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Event hints at big parties' new coalition for Indonesia's 2014 election

Publication Date : 03-07-2012


The presence of Anas Urbaningrum, the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, at the ceremony declaring businessman Aburizal "Ical" Bakrie as the Golkar Party’s presidential candidate may indicate that the parties are aiming at a coalition in 2014, analysts have said.

"Golkar knows very well that Democratic Party is still a very powerful party and Golkar wants to build stronger relations with it," Andrinof Chaniago, a political analyst from the University of Indonesia, said yesterday.

Urbaningrum was on hand on Sunday when Golkar leaders officially endorsed Bakrie - who is also Golkar chairman - as the party's presidential candidate for the 2014 election. Golkar, which was the ruling party during the Soeharto's New Order regime, has never won a presidential election in the post-New Order period.

Golkar leaders also sent signals about potential alliance by including the youngest son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Eddhie "Ibas" Baskoro Yudhoyono, and the President's brother in-law Lt. Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo on the short list of running mates for Bakrie.

"Golkar is a very experienced party, it knows full well that it must collaborate with other strong political parties to gain strong support for the election. The Democratic Party appears to have all the potential to be a good partner. This is why Golkar has decided not to confront the ruling party," Chaniago added.

Another political analyst, Iberamsjah, said that Urbaningrum's presence at the ceremony was also aimed at demonstrating that the two parties had mended ties following Golkar's repeated defections from the policies of Yudhoyono’s ruling coalition, of which it is a member.

"By being present at the meeting, Urbaningrum tried to show the public that his party holds no grudge against Golkar," he said.

Iberamsjah, however, said that the road to an alliance would be a rocky one, given Golkar's reputation for shrewd politicians.

"The Democratic Party knows that they cannot entirely count on the Golkar Party for the 2014 election or for any other interests. Golkar’s position can change within seconds," Iberamsjah said.

On a potential Bakrie-Ibas ticket, Chaniago said that it was a calculated move to draw support from influential figures in the Democratic Party.

"Once the Democratic Party has a stronger candidate, I believe that Bakrie will be willing to be a candidate for vice president. Announcing the intention to partner with Ibas is just a strategy to test the waters," Chaniago said.

Iberamsjah was doubtful, saying that the pairing of Bakrie with Ibas was "not going to happen".

"Poor Ibas, what is he capable of doing? Unless he is willing to become only a puppet," he said.

Separately, Urbaningrum said that his invitation to the Golkar meeting was done merely as a courtesy. "I decided to come because for me, it was the best thing to do to enhance ties between the two parties. I don't think my presence there will cause internal problem within our party," Urbaningrum said.

"We will also invite Golkar's chairman [Bakrie] when we hold a national gathering to announce the nomination of our presidential candidate," he said.


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