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BerichtOnderwerp: PDI-P to show who’s the boss   wo 8 apr 2015 - 5:35

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Wed, April 08 2015

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) plans use its national congress in Bali this weekend to make a grand statement that it is the ruling party and will not always be subservient to the whim of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Besides reelecting incumbent chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri as leader of the party for the next five years, the congress is set to officially announce the PDI-P’s stance on several current and crucial issues.

In addition, the party is expected to announce a grand strategy for the 2015-2020 period.

“We are a governing party and not the government’s party. As part of the government, we must actively participate in designing the government’s programs. We will detail such a role in our fourth congress,” PDI-P deputy secretary-general Ahmad Basarah said on Tuesday.

Basarah said the PDI-P would not serve as a rubber stamp for Jokowi’s administration.

“As a governing party, the PDI-P must have an active role regarding the strategic policies that will be taken. We must make the nature of our relationship and communication with the government clear. We are not the government’s rubber stamp,” said Basarah, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing law and human rights.

Basarah also said the PDI-P’s clarification of its position as the ruling party that nominated Jokowi developed in response to criticisms over the party’s role in a number of key policies made by Jokowi in recent months.

The PDI-P, for example, has been the subject of criticism for its intransigence in nominating Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, a former adjutant of Megawati while she served as president from 2001 to 2004, as a National Police chief candidate even after resistance from antigraft activists.

Irked by Jokowi’s indecisiveness concerning Budi’s nomination, several PDI-P lawmakers criticized the President’s mediocre performance, a move which was inconsistent with the PDI-P’s position as the ruling party.

Critics also attacked the PDI-P, the biggest faction in the House with almost 20 percent of the seats and the leader of Jokowi’s ruling Great Indonesia Coalition, for attempting to intervene with Jokowi’s decision making process, including allegations that it had major roles in the appointment of party politicians as executives in state-owned enterprises.

“Our effort to communicate with the President who is a member of the party has been considered an obstruction to the President’s independence [...]. But we can understand this because it’s the first time in the country’s history that someone who is not the leader of a political party was elected president,” Basarah said.

In an effort to contribute more to Jokowi’s administration, the PDI-P will also invite the Cabinet’s ministers to attend the congress so that it can brief the ministers on its programs for the next five years.

In addition to Cabinet ministers, the national congress committee has sent an invitation to Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Jokowi, who is expected to attend the congress, will participate in his capacity as a party member and not as the country’s president

According to Basarah, Jokowi is expected to don the party’s signature red jacket.

Leaders from other political parties who attend the congress will hear the sole speech presented by Megawati.

The congress will not hold an election for members of the party’s central board and instead will defer to Megawati, who will appoint whoever she deems worthy.

“This is the typical way of doing things in the PDI-P. It is in accordance with the party’s regulations and we all have granted the authority to Ibu Megawati,” Andreas Hugo Pareira, head of the steering committee, said.

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