Political Review: Opposition Camp in Jeopardy

Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono Give an Oration to Young People on Friday (03/08) - Photo by TheInsiderStories

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Only days ahead of the August 10’s deadline registration for presidential and vice presidential candidates the establishment of the opposition camp is nowhere at sight.

So far, political parties that have expressed intention to collaborate and set up the opposition to President Joko Widodo are caught up in unresolved negotiations over the vice presidential slot.

The parties, which include the Gerindra Party, Keadilan Sejahtera, Amanat Nasional, and the Demokrat Party, have many times announced that they would nominate Prabowo Subianto as a candidate to compete with Widodo but none of them has made the nomination official.

When media asked why the coalition had yet to officially endorse Subianto’s ticket and presidential candidate, Ahmad Muzani, the secretary general of Gerindra reluctant to further discuss about the matter. However, it was obvious that the unresolved negotiations on the contender’s running mate candidate has hampered the coalition discussion from moving forward.

As of Monday, PKS still insisted to endorse senior politicians, especially head of party’s High Council Salim Segaf al-Jufri and former West Java governor Ahmad Heryawan, to become Prabowo’s running mate.

Meanwhile, Demokrat is eyeing Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY), the eldest son of party’s chief patron Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), to run with Subiano. In order to further promote AHY, his father even set up a campaign-like gathering last week to give a stage for him to deliver a speech on his future contribution as a potential leader.

AHY’ speech, which was themed on Muda Adalah Kekuatan [Youth is strength], touched on what the resigned military personnel observation of “the struggle of the people” during his trips across the country, which he said has inspired him for what to do to improve the situation.

He also responded to critics who have questioned his ability to lead the country due to his young age and lack of experience. “Some have said that I am too young to do something. Yes, I am young, so what?”.

According to Muzani, Gerindra has pocketed two names of potential candidates to become Widodo’s running mate. He however declined to reveal the details.

Meanwhile, Jusuf Kalla and his supporters will be hoping that the Constitutional Court can deliver its verdict on term limit for President and Vice President seats before Friday (10/08), the deadline to register for the 2019 Presidential Election.

Kalla is currently barred to run again as he had served the position twice. But Kalla and his team seeks clarification on whether the two-term limit is only applicable when the President or Vice President seats are being held for two consecutive periods.

Critics are quick to point out that the two-term limit is put in place to avoid a repeat of Soeharto’s 32-years authoritarian regime. If the Court rules in Kalla’s favor, then he is free to run again in 2019, possibly as Joko Widodo’s running mate again. For Widodo, having Kalla as running-mate again may greatly improve his chance in 2019.

The opposition camp may also feel similar anxiety as registration deadline nears. Gerindra Party’s founder, already endorsed by several parties asPresidential Candidate, has yet to announce his number two.

The move by Yudhoyono and his party to join the opposition camp changes the dynamics. SBY’s is keen to put his heir apparent AHY as Vice Presidential candidate, which is also sought by Subianto’s loyal ally the Justice Prosperous Party. No easy decision there.

TIS Intelligence Team, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com