During the 2.5-hour meeting, Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto and NasDem Party chairman Surya Paloh agreed to mutually respect each other's political decisions.
PRAYOGI DWI SULISTYO, KURNIA YUNITA RAHAYU
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BOGOR, KOMPAS — Several meetings among political parties in recent weeks do not seem to have changed the already established coalitions. NasDem chairman Surya Paloh’s visit to Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto on Sunday (5/3/2023) was no exception. Both agreed to respect each other's political decisions.
The meeting at Prabowo's residence in Hambalang, Bogor, West Java, lasted two hours and a half. It was a reciprocal visit with Paloh receiving his counterpart at NasDem Tower in Jakarta early June 2022.
They discussed the 2024 presidential election, for which both parties are unlikely to be in a coalition with them having respective presidential candidates. They said they respected each other’s decisions.
Prabowo has his party reportedly seeking to nominate him as a presidential candidate in the 2024 presidential election, for which NasDem has picked former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.
"We want the nation and state to always be at peace, harmony and unity. [Political] competition and rivalry is necessary. [It’s necessary too] that we should not worry about opposition, as long as it’s constructive opposition with peace and within the framework of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [unity in diversity]," Prabowo said.
Paloh said not only did his party respect Gerindra’s decision to give Prabowo the mandate as a presidential nominee, he took Prabowo as a close friend.
"[I’m] prepared to share my enthusiasm with Mas Prabowo as a contribution to our friendship. Winning or losing is a second matter," he said, adding that he was keen to maintain his long-lived friendship with Prabowo.
Gerindra has formed a coalition with the National Awakening Party (PKB). However, they have yet to agree on a presidential candidate with the PKB reportedly harboring an interest to put forward its chairman, Muhaimin Iskandar. The NasDem coalition with the Democratic Party and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has decided to support Anies as a presidential candidate, with him also given the privilege to pick who will be his prospective vice president.
Political communications between party elites of non-coalition, such as Paloh’s meeting with Prabowo, have been in the spotlight in recent weeks. Paloh had previously met with Golkar Party chairman Airlangga Hartarto. Several PKS board officials were involved in a meeting with their Golkar counterparts. Golkar has entered into an alliance, called the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB), with the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP). The PKB leader, Muhaimin Iskandar, had met with Airlangga.
These political engagements do not seem to have threatened the coalition buildup despite public suspicions about political intent to influence axis affiliation.
Communication with other political parties outside the KIB, such as Gerindra and the PKS, continues, but the KIB, as Golkar board official Tubagus Ace Hasan Syadzily has affirmed, remains solid. He said the established communication was not directed yet into a change in the composition of the coalition. He said political parties respected each other’s initiatives to build coalitions.
Vice presidential candidacy
Indonesian Political Parameters executive director Adi Prayitno, who is a lecturer in politics at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, said coalitions looked solid so far, though he did not rule out possible changes in the future on the balance of vice presidential nomination and political dynamics that might force party elites to consolidate.
In such a situation, Adi said, NasDem would play a key role in the coalition constellation with it currently being part of the coalition of political parties supporting President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin administration. He added that the dynamics in the government coalition might prompt NasDem to change its attitude at any time, given its leading role in the Democrat-PKS coalition.
He saw Prabowo and Paloh's meeting as carrying an important message that no matter how bitter the political competition was, friendship must continue to be fostered. He said the people needed to understand that politics should be approached with common sense.