Golkar and PPP in limbo ahead of regional elections

Golkar and PPP in limbo ahead of regional elections
Jovial: Chairman of the General Election Commission (KPU) Husni Kamil Manik (second left) and KPU commissioner Hadar Nafis Gumay (left) converse with secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Hasto Kristiyanto (second right) and a member of the party’s central board Andreas Hugo Pereira (right) during a meeting at the KPU headquarters on Tuesday. The PDI-P has lobbied the KPU not to allow the PPP and Golkar to join the local elections unless the two parties solve their infighting.

Opposition has mounted against a plan to amend local election laws that had been proposed to allow the Golkar Party and the United Development Party (PPP) to participate in this year's regional elections, leaving the two parties with only one option-reconciliation.

More parties have joined the ruling Great Indonesian Coalition to oppose a plan to revise the 2011 law on political parties and the 2015 Regional Elections (Pilkada) Law.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto reiterated the party's stance on rejecting the plan, saying that it would set a bad precedent for the future.

"We prefer to focus more on regulations that benefit more people. It's better for all of us to work together and support the efforts by the government as well as the KPU [General Elections Commission] to set up the rules of the game without changing the existing laws," Hasto said on the sidelines of a meeting with the KPU at its headquarters in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.

Hasto said the PDI-P would instruct its lawmakers to toe the party line on the issue.

Executives from parties within the ruling coalition back the PDI-P's stance.

Dossy Iskandar from the Hanura Party said that political parties "could not change the laws only to meet the interests of certain parties".

Meanwhile, political parties from the opposition coalition also reject the plan. Executives from the Gerindra Party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Democratic Party and National Mandate Party (PAN) also rejected the amendment proposal.

The decision to amend the laws was made following a meeting between leaders of the House of Representatives and KPU last week that aimed to give the election commission a legal basis to allow Golkar and PPP to submit the latest court ruling over their leadership battle if both failed to end months of infighting or if either of them failed to provide a final and binding ruling over the matter by the candidate registration period in July.

By including such a condition in its regulation on local elections, the KPU allows Golkar and the PPP to contest in the 269 elections to take place simultaneously on Dec. 9 this year, in spite of an ongoing internal conflict.

"Reconciliation is of course the best solution but it's difficult to achieve because none of us is willing to compromise," Epyardi Asda of the PPP said.

Ade Komarudin from the Aburizal Bakrie camp of Golkar also said that " a legal battle is inevitable".

The House is expected begin deliberations on the amendment process as soon as it resumes it's sitting session on May 18.

Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon said that the House leadership would consult the matter with President Joko " Jokowi" Widodo to secure the President's support.

Critics of the amendment plan have urged the government and KPU to drop the plan.

Titi Anggraini from the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) lambasted the House, saying that "the lawmakers' insistence on the amendment reflects their arrogance".

"It will set a bad precedence because the House, which comprises representatives from political parties, will change laws to ensure that their agendas are accommodated," Titi said.

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