Prabowo-Hatta Coalition ‘in Sight’ for 2014 Presidential Race

Prabowo Subianto, retired Indonesian army general and presidential hopeful, speaks during a lecture in Singapore on August 1, 2012. Just over 14 years ago, Subianto was one of Indonesia's most reviled men, accused of kidnapping, human rights abuses and a coup attempt. Now, the former general has emerged as a popular candidate for president. (Reuters Photo/Tim Chong)

Prabowo Subianto, retired Indonesian army general and presidential hopeful, speaks during a lecture in Singapore on August 1, 2012. Just over 14 years ago, Subianto was one of Indonesia’s most reviled men, accused of kidnapping, human rights abuses and a coup attempt. Now, the former general has emerged as a popular candidate for president. (Reuters Photo/Tim Chong)

A coalition between former military general Prabowo Subianto and National Mandate Party chairman Hatta Rajasa for next year’s presidential race is just a step away, one of the party’s politicians says.

Viva Yoga Mauladi, the campaign manager for the party known as the PAN, said on Monday that both figures were communicating intensively for the possibility to join forces in the election.

“A Hatta-Prabowo pairing is just a step away,” said Viva, who is also a member of the House of Representatives.

“Both will continue to build communications until the results of the 2014 legislative election are out.”

He added that Prabowo had visited Hatta’s home to discuss various issues.

“Prabowo came to Hatta’s house, [they] met for two hours. In the two-hour meeting, Hatta explained and discussed about the economy, social, cultural and political issues, and how politics will develop in the future,” Viva said.

Based on the meeting, he went on, both figures learned that they shared a common vision for the development of the nation.

When asked if they had decided who would run as president and as vice president, Viva said it would be discussed after the legislative election in April 2014.

“You could say that this is an embryo to a coalition,” he said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is reported to have given his blessing for a Prabowo-Hatta ticket in the presidential election next July, but the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), which Prabowo founded, claims it is unaware of this.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Gerindra’s chairman for domestic political affairs and also the Jakarta deputy governor, said the party had not received any information about the president’s blessing for Prabowo and Hatta to form a coalition.

“It hasn’t been brought up at any party meetings. We’re focusing on winning the election and nominating Prabowo [as president],” Basuki said on Tuesday.

He also said he did not know what was discussed during a meeting last week between Prabowo and the president.

“I don’t know about the meeting with Yudhoyono. The adviser didn’t have to report to us,” Basuki said, referring to Prabowo who is Gerindra’s chief adviser.

Separately, Adjie Alfaraby, a researcher with the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), said it appeared likely that Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party would form a coalition with Gerindra.

“The Democrats don’t have any strong presidential or vice presidential candidates to nominate, while Gerindra has Prabowo,” Adjie said.

He added that recent reports suggested that Yudhoyono preferred Prabowo as president because of the two men’s shared military background.