National Mandate Party Official Advises Rethink of Coalition Membership
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The National Mandate Party must reconsider its position in the Democratic Party-led ruling coalition as it prepares to make its own mark in the 2014 legislative and presidential elections, a senior official said on Friday.
Dradjad Wibowo, deputy chairman of the Islam-based party known as the PAN, said the party needed to redefine its role with respect to the Democrats if it wanted to give its chairman, Hatta Rajasa, a better chance in the presidential race.
“I feel the PAN must critically re-evaluate whether being in the coalition is helping or hurting its electability both as a party and as a vehicle for the chairman to mount a presidential bid,” he said.
He argued that the coalition was holding the party back because of its widely perceived standing as an ineffectual body. He pointed out that the six-party bloc was often wracked by bickering among its members over issues that in most cases were left unresolved.
“There have been so many examples, from the decision over candidates for the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] to the standoff on whether to raise fuel prices,” Dradjad said.
On rare occasions when agreement was reached on an issue, he went on, the consensus was often short-lived once the issue went before the House of Representatives. The root of the problem, he said, was a lack of discipline by coalition partners.
“None of the belligerent members are ever punished or sanctioned,” he said.
“If this carries on, the coalition will just be a forum for politicians to meet up and have coffee.”
The other coalition partners are the Golkar Party and three Islam-based parties: the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the United Development Party (PPP).