Ezra Sihite & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The chairman of the newly formed National Democratic Party said it had recruited 33 lawmakers from other parties to join it for the 2014 general elections.
Patrice Rio Capella, chairman of the party known as NasDem, said recently that Golkar Party politician Jeffrie Geovanie had officially switched sides several months ago and other politicians would soon follow.
Jeffrie was already connected to NasDem through his membership in the National Democrats social organization, which is loosely affiliated with NasDem.
Andi Nurpati, a spokeswoman for the ruling Democratic Party, said the Democrats weren’t worried and that it would be easy to replace anyone who left.
“Should any Democrat Party [member] plan to move to NasDem, they should resign from the party first,” Andi said.
Andi said it would not surprise her if some Democrats jumped ship because NasDem was offering legislators Rp 5 billion to Rp 10 billion ($530,000 to $1.1 million) to join it. She provided no evidence to back up that claim, however.
Lukman Hakim Saefuddin, chairman of the United Development Party’s (PPP) executive board, said PPP politicians were not opportunists and thus would not move to Nasdem.
PPP politicians believe in the party’s vision and mission more than they do in money, he said.
“No one will move to Nasdem,” Lukman said. “It’s just strange to see [people] move from one party to another. I don’t know what the integrity or vision of those who move are like. But PPP politicians will not do that.”
Lukman said politicians who moved to Nasdem just for money were misguided because the election system was based on votes, not wealth.
In the 2009 legislative elections, many candidates failed despite their riches, he said. “In my opinion, votes are garnered not based on the capital strength. I believe you need to touch their hearts and not offer them money,” he said.
The public could judge such fickle politicians for themselves, he added.
People’s Consultative Assembly speaker Taufik Kiemas, a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), called on politicians from his party to resign immediately if they wanted to move to NasDem so that it would not disrupt the party’s nomination process for 2014.
“It’s better to resign now because the nomination of the legislative candidates starts next April and it will be impossible for legislative candidates to resign when the election is approaching,” he said.
Golkar secretary general Idrus Marham said opportunist politicians were threats not only to their party but also to the country.
“The people who move to other parties no longer have an ideology,” he said. “Please remember, politics is not only about getting seats in parliament.”