Saturday, October 18, 2014


   Jakarta, Oct 18, 2014 (Antara) - After all the noise and tension during the general election held earlier this year, the entire nation has come out as the winner, for the country is going to have a new President and opposition-dominated Parliament.
         Further, these opposing groups have pledged to work together for the public's welfare.
         No one was a "loser" in the general elections, as Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the political parties supporting him, The Great Indonesia Coalition (KIH),  are going to hold the executive power,  while his political rival, Prabowo Subianto and his supporters - The Red and White Coalition (KMP) - have dominated leadership in the Parliament, or the House of Representatives (DPR), as well as the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

         The Indonesian legislators and president were elected directly by the people through democratic legislative elections held on April 9, 2014 and presidential elections on July 9, 2014. 
    According to the final vote tally announced by the General Election Commission (KPU), Jokowi and his running mate M Jusuf Kalla won 70,997,833 votes, or 53.15 percent of the total 133,574,277 votes, while their rivals, Prabowo Subianto and his partner Hatta Rajasa secured 62,576,444 votes, or 46.85 percent of the total.
         In response to the election results announced by the KPU, Prabowo claimed that the election was marred by massive fraud and cheating and accused KPU of being unfair executors of the election. He later decided to bring the case to the Constitutional Court (MK) which, on August 21, rejected the legal suit.
         The political fight, however, did not end there.  Prabowo, a retired general and the founder of the Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra), formed a "permanent" coalition, dubbed the Red and White Coalition  (KMP), consisting of Gerindra, Golkar Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Crescent and Star Party (PBB), and the United Development Party (PPP), which later chose to join Jokowi's coalition.
         The Democratic Party (PD), founded by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, declared itself independent, but in a number of cases the party tended to share the political views of the KMP.
         Jokowi, along with the Great Indonesia Coalition (KIH), is supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the National Democrat (Nasdem), the Nation Awakening Party (PKB), the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), and later the PPP.
         During the pre-election campaign, Jokowi often declared that he preferred to have the direct support of the people and he expressed his confidence that having fewer political parties to support him would be better.
         He also declared that his coalition was unconditional, so there would be no ministerial posts promised to KIH's political party members.
         "It's slim and unconditional, it could be 1, 2, or 3 parties, but it's unconditional because (we) want to strengthen the presidential system," Jokowi was quoted as saying by on May 16, 2014.
         Even without PPP, collectively the KMP's member political parties hold the majority seats in the Parliament, particularly with the support of the Democratic Party. Therefore, KMP and PD recently swept the leadership positions in both the DPR and the MPR, which has the authority to amend the Constitution.
         Following the victories of the KMP in DPR and MPR leadership positions, baseless rumors about presidential impeachment conspiracies, as well as a boycott and sabotage of the presidential inauguration were reported by both electronic and print media, quoting certain political observers and politicians.
         But the KMP's politicians have denied the rumors, saying that their domination in the Parliament and the MPR would function as a 'check and balance' in the nation's presidential system.
         Those rumors were followed by statements by Jokowi's camp and those supporting him that "the people" could be mobilize to directly confront the KMP's legislators.    
    Political observer from the State University of Indonesia Boni Hargens, for instance, was recently quoted by the media as saying that "Jokowi's main power is the mass media, followed by open public participation, which can be mobilized whenever Jokowi is pressured in the parliament."
    Hargens, however, added that a political complication could occur due to a gap between the political reality and Jokowi's ideal vision and mission.
         "There has been overconfidence that has led them to overlook the importance of political lobbying in the parliament, coupled with the media supporting the opposition parties. I hope no nightmare will happen," he pointed out.
         The media has been sharply divided since the pre-election campaign. Major media, such as the Jakarta Post, Metro TV, Media Indonesia, and Kompas, have openly supported Jokowi, while those on Prabowo's side include TV One.
         The daily Jakarta Post even wrote an editorial entitled "Endorsing Jokowi" on July 4, 2014, stating that "...the Post feels obliged to openly declare its endorsement of the candidacy of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as president and vice president in the July 9 election. It is an endorsement we do not take lightly.  But it is an endorsement we believe to be morally right."

        Political Reality
    Following several defeats in DPR and MPR's decision-making votes, Jokowi seems to have realized the political realities and decided to change his political approach.
         He has now offered positions in the government to PPP and other parties willing to join his coalition.
         Tantowi Yahya, the deputy secretary of Golkar, earlier said Jokowi had at last come to realize that an unconditional coalition was not possible.
        "In the beginning, Jokowi was very confident about forming an unconditional coalition. But, in reality, it is political to seek consensus and the support of all parties," Tantowi Yahya stated.
         Jokowi recently visited leaders of the KMP's political parties, such as Aburizal Bakrie of Golkar Party, Hatta Rajasa of PAN and, lastly, Prabowo of Gerindra.
         Following a brief meeting in Jakarta on Oct. 17, their first meeting since last July, Prabowo and Jokowi told the media that they were committed to maintaining peace and unity in Indonesia.
         "We agree to maintain the unity of Indonesia, the nation's ideology Pancasila, and the Constitution," Prabowo remarked, adding that  "Competition in politics is normal, but in the end, we have to remember that all actions must be conducted based upon the people's interests."
    Prabowo also called on his sympathizers to support the next administration of president-elect Jokowio, as long as its programs and projects are good for the public.
         "I have asked the party that I lead, my friends and loyalists, to support (the administration) of Joko Widodo," he stated.
    But, Prabowo cautioned, if the Jokowi administration makes policies that harm the people, then his party and sympathizers will not hesitate to criticize.
         "That's what I have told him, and that is democracy," he said after the meeting with Jokowi.  He described the meeting as friendly and said he congratulated Jokowi on his presidency.       
    In the meantime, Jokowi pointed out that he and Prabowo shared a similar vision for the nation. "In the future, if there is something to criticize then we are ready to accept it," affirmed Jokowi.
         Jokowi will be inaugurated as Indonesia's seventh president on October 20, 2014. MPR Speaker Zulkifli Hasan has convinced Jokowi's camp that there would be no sabotage nor boycotting of the ceremony.   
    The upcoming presidential inauguration is expected to be held smoothly, as it will showcase Indonesia's success in implementing democracy, noted Zulkifli Hasan, politician from PAN, on October 17, 2014.
         President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in his last speech at the Seventh Bali Democracy Forum held on October 10-11, 2014, shared Indonesia's democratic lessons during his 10-year administration.
         Indonesia had very high voter turnouts in the first three elections in the reform era: about 85 percent in the elections of 1999, 2004 and 2009.  This year, the voter turnout fell to some 70 percent.
         Earlier this year, Indonesia successfully carried out a series of elections for President, Parliament (DPR), Regional Representative Council (DPD) or the Senate, and local Parliaments (DPRDs). Some 135 million people took part in one of the world's largest electoral processes involving half a million ballot booths, which was organized independently by the KPU, he remarked.
         "In the process, we elected more than a thousand leaders at all levels. Members of the new Parliament and the Senate have already assumed their responsibility as of October 1st. And on October 20, new President - President-elect Joko Widodo - will be sworn in," Yudhoyono said.
         He described the elections as not being easy. They were exhaustive, complicated, expensive, divisive, and even emotional, it was noted.
         "I suppose, they were like any other elections in the world. No one said democracy was easy. But, when the next President is sworn in days from now, Indonesia will prove to our people and to the world that we can achieve a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power," he stated.
         He believed that since the era of reform, Indonesia's democracy has grown from strength to strength.
         The country's  democracy is a work in progress, but despite all those achievements, the nation still needs to address enormous challenges, such as  excessive freedom, black campaigns and irregularities during the election process.
        "Nevertheless, I am convinced that all these challenges can be rectified," he stated.
         President Yudhoyono, however, believed that the final test of Indonesia's democratic maturity would be the implementation of the 2019 general elections.
         "Indonesia has to face another test. If the general elections in 2019 are peaceful, democracy will be elevated to the next level in the future," Yudhoyono said, while opening the General Elections Commission's (KPU's) leadership meeting at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on October 14, 2014. ***1***

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