Indonesia's Sixth President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The position of Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) and Demokrat party at the 2019 Presidential Election is in the middle of a fight. They played a two-legged political gesture: joining the opposition coalition on the one hand, Demokrat party electoral calculations in parliament on the other.

The middle position was even more assertive when looking at the political speech of the Demokrat Party’s Joint Task Command Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) last week. The speech that contained the recommendations of the upcoming president clearly did not show his partisanship for the Subianto-Uno.

Instead of talking about the coalition and input for the pair supported by Demokrat, AHY highlighted SBY’s success over the 10 years leading Indonesia. Demokrat seemed unwilling to enter into the big battles of Widodo and Subianto.

But that strategy and political calculations are realistic considering that Demokrat don’t have cadres in the Presidential Election battle. So they are not the main players. The middle position is also rational considering the electability of Subianto-Uno from various survey institutions never touched 40 percent. While Widodo-Amin has exceeded 50 percent as a condition to win the fight.

The Demokrat’s main concern, thus, is the party’s electoral position in the legislative elections. Based on the survey, Demokrat are still in fourth place after the Amanat Nasional party. So that for the Demokrat, the presidential election is secondary. The primary thing is the legislature through the success of cadres winning seats in parliament. That is why since the beginning SBY did release several Democrat cadres in the area to support Widodo-Amin. The decision was taken by SBY and agreed by the Chairman of the Demokrat High Council Amir Syamsudin.

Demokrat will also not leave the opposition coalition considering political calculations in 2024. Since 2017, Demokrat have a mission to fight for AHY as a young leader in the future. Although it had lost the fight in the Jakarta Governor Election last year, AHY’s electability was getting better and longer. This effort cannot be separated from AHY’s field campaign activities to remote parts of the country.

In the 2024 presidential election, Demokrat will definitely fight AHY in the competition arena. For that purpose, the Demokrat inevitably have to enter the coalition. Because based on Article 235 paragraph 5 of the Election Law, political parties that do not have or submit a presidential or vice presidential candidate in the 2019 Presidential Election, may not participate in the Presidential Election in 2024.

As a result, the seriousness of the Demokrat in strengthening the political machinery of the opposition was billed by the Koalisi Indonesia Adil Makmur. Later it was discovered that Demokrat still wanted to focus on legislative elections, before focusing on campaigning for Subianto-Uno starting in March 2019.

But the plan failed because SBY had to step aside from the political stage to accompany his wife to undergo treatment in Singapore. SBY’s absence in campaigning for Subianto-Uno was clearly a blow because the voting time was less than two months.

If traced back, the absence of SBY in the presidential election campaign is not the first time this has happened. In several important meetings and campaigns for the opposition pair, he was often absent. In fact, since the beginning of Subianto-Uno’s declaration, SBY preferred to hold a one-on-one meeting with Subianto rather than sit with the Keadilan Sejahtera party, PAN and Gerakan Indonesia Raya (Gerindra) party as a coalition partner.

In fact, SBY’s role is very significant in boosting Subianto’s electability to compete with Widodo who has passed the magic number, above 50 percent. The election of Sandiaga Uno as a representative had brought fresh air because it was seen as a new figure, young, and potential to gain a lot of votes, especially millennials. But in fact, the presence of Uno has not been strong enough to add value to Subianto. The size can be seen from the results of a survey that has not yet exceeded 40 percent.

Practically, Subianto’s key card now lies in the figure of SBY who has a fairly strong electoral magnet. Armed with a great political heritage when leading Indonesia for two periods, it felt difficult for the opposition to look for other strong and charismatic figures in the ranks of the coalition political figures.

Judging from the electectoral calculations in the regions, SBY’s role is very vital. SBY is considered to still have quite a lot of traditional voter bases in East Java and Central Java which became Subianto’s biggest weak point in 2014. The fall of SBY in the two regions would certainly be very strategic and in line with the strategy of Subianto-Uno who was in the middle of focusing on pounding the incumbent’s voice.

Various problems exist as if to confirm that there is a steep road for the opposition coalition to seize power. It is not easy to consolidate and maximize the potential of the party’s political machinery in the midst of a simultaneous election situation between the presidential election and the legislative election. Political parties tend to be more rational in determining their priorities.

The profit-loss calculation will be very common in the context of balancing between the legislative election and the presidential election, especially for parties that do not place their cadres in the position of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Political actors whose interests are not accommodated and are not an important part of the fight tend to shift support and focus on their own interests.

And the interests of the Demokrat are to ensure an electoral victory in this year’s legislative elections and prepare AHY to advance as president in the 2024 presidential election later. The aim of the Demokrat facing the 2019 presidential election is a stepping stone in 2024 as well, making the party’s position to survive in the opposition coalition make sense. Although in the end, after the upcoming presidential election the coalition could be split back in the middle of the road, as had happened in the 2014 presidential election.

The coalition raised in the face of conflict, by British politician Andrew Heywood (2000) is referred to as a feature of a coalition in which the political elites are actually forced to unite due to the same purpose. In this case, both Subianto and SBY had the same goal: to win power from Widodo.

As a result, the coalition is based solely on false and indecisive values ​​or popularly referred to as fuzzy coalitions. The term fuzzy is found in the Classical Logic concept introduced by Greek philosopher Aristotle to show politics that are built on the basis of momentary interests.

Judging from the current situation of Demokrat and Gerindra party, forced coalitions indeed ultimately create covert conflicts and risk becoming a prolonged problem. But whatever it is, in politics there is only interest.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: