Gerindra and Hanura Shoot Down Talks Of Joining Democrat-Led Govt Coalition
Ezra Sihite &Arientha Primanita
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party appears keen to have two opposition parties join the government coalition, despite the pair flatly dismissing the possibility.
The speculation arose after both the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) threw their support behind the Democrats on the contentious election law.
Both parties even attended the ruling coalition’s discussion on the subject, when coalition member the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and Golkar Party were nowhere to be seen.
Some Democratic officials welcomed the suggestion that Gerindra and Hanura will replace PKS in the coalition and cabinet.
“Serious ties are beginning to be formed. Be positive. This is good for the people and government stability,” said Ramadhan Pohan, the Democrats’ deputy secretary general.
He said it was the second time that the Democrats and Gerindra have shared the same stance.
Both Gerindra, which was founded by Prabowo Subianto, and Hanura, which has Wiranto as its leader, have fiercely opposed many Yudhoyono policies. Both Prabowo and Wiranto have strong links to the Indonesian military.
Meanwhile, relations between Yudhoyono and the PKS turned sour after the party openly rejected the government’s plan to increase the price of fuel to cut subsidies, igniting speculation that the Islamic party will soon be kicked out from the coalition and cabinet.
Many said that Yudhoyono, who is known for prioritizing stability in his coalition, is waiting for the green light from other parties before replacing PKS.
However, both Gerindra and Hanura have flatly denied speculation they wanted to align with the governing parties.
“We don’t want to join the coalition,” said Saleh Husin, Hanura’s faction secretary at the House of Representatives, adding that Hanura’s stance on the election law was only to defend the people’s interest, not that of the Democrats.
Gerindra’s deputy chairman Fadli Zon also denied speculation that its party would join the coalition. “We have no intention to join them,” he said.