Indonesia’s Democratic Party Remains Optimistic
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Ruling Democratic Party officials expressed confidence that the party will fare well in the 2014 legislative elections, despite a series of recent surveys showing otherwise and public infighting among some of its senior members.
Hinca Panjaitan, a member of the party’s central board, said Democrats could and would restore the party to its 2009 heyday, when it grabbed more than 20 percent of votes.
Recent surveys have indicated that the ruling party trails the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). The surveys have even suggested that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s party could struggle just to break double digits in 2014.
In October, the National Survey Institute (LSN) gave the Democratic Party just 5.9 percent of the vote.
Topping the LSN poll was Golkar with 18.1 percent, followed by the PDI-P with 14.4 percent and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) with 12.5 percent.
Also in October, a survey by Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting showed Golkar coming out on top with 14 percent. The PDI-P was second with 9 percent, followed by the Democrats with 8 percent.
“I am still optimistic,” Hinca insisted this weekend.
He said all members of the party were unified under the guidance of Yudhoyono, the party’s chief of patrons.
“The party has consolidated itself. All the members are now working together in their own constituencies to boost the party’s popularity,” said Hinca.
A spat between outspoken Democratic Party legislator Ruhut Sitompul, a known Yudhoyono’s loyalist, and party chairman Anas Urbaningrum played out in public earlier this year when the legislator called on the chairman to resign after he was implicated in a raft of corruption allegations by Muhammad Nazaruddin, the former Democratic treasurer.
Tensions ramped up last week when Ruhut was dismissed from his post on the party’s central executive board, a move he claims was retaliation.
Syarief Hasan, minister of cooperatives and small and medium enterprises, as well as a senior party official, also dismissed speculation of internal divisions, confirming that Yudhoyono was still in control.
“With Yudhoyono fully supporting us, we can regain our popularity coming into the election,” he said.