Down, Not Out

A number of `troubled' politicians are looking for a way to extend their stay at the DPR. Some of them have founded new political parties.

WHAT'S been happening with the politicians whose parties did not meet the electoral threshold in the 1999 General Election, or were given the boot by their party? Well, they haven't given up yet, that's for sure. Take Abdul Qadir Jaelani, for instance. You won't always find him at the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) in Senayan, Jakarta. These days, he spends most of his time at the headquarters of his new party, the Al-Islam Indonesia Party, located on Jalan Haji Awaluddin in Tanah Abang. He is presently preoccupied with coming up with the right strategy to ensure the future of his party. He needs branch party offices in two-thirds of Indonesia's provinces and regencies, a necessary prerequisite in order to take part in the 2004 General Election.

This former chairman of the Jihad Command of the Indonesian Muslim Community (1966-1967) is not alone. A number of politicians in Sen-ayan, such as Hartono Mardjono, Gregorius Seto Harianto, Manase Malo, and Abdul Kholiq Ahmad, are facing the same problem. The electoral threshold stipulation has forced them to leave their old party behind. This means they have to either make a new party or else form a political alliance.

Jaelani used to belong to the Crescent Star party (PBB), a party which fared well enough in the last election, automatically assuring it a place in the 2004 General Election. However, he, along with Hartono Mardjono, did not recognize Yusril Ihza Mahendra as the legitimate chairman of the party. The two were then summarily fired. This further resulted in being expelled from his DPR faction as well. After the DPR decided not to allow House members to remain unaffiliated with any faction, he joined the Daulah Ummah Faction. However, Jaelani and Hartono did not take the same road. Jaelani founded the Al-Islam Indonesia Party, while Hartono established the Indonesian Islamic Party (PII).

Jaelani honestly admits that it will be quite difficult for his party to fulfill the requirements as set out in the Law on Political Parties and the Law on the General Election. In the law which regulates political parties, a party can receive election verification if it has branch offices in 50 percent of Indonesia's 30 provinces and 421 regencies and cities. As of now, Jaelani's party has 14 branches in the provinces and 64 in the regencies.

What has really set his head spinning are the regulations in the General Election Law, which stipulates that political parties must have branches in two-thirds of the provinces and regencies, in addition to 1,000 registered members in each regency. "Large parties may not even be able to do that, let alone a new party like ours," he said. Making an alliance with other parties is one way to solve this problem. Unfortunately, said Jaelani, his plan to ally with Muslim parties remained incomplete, after meetings held last week did not yield any results.

Gregorius Seto Haryanto, from the Love the Nation Democratic Party (PDKB), is in the same boat. For the last four months, he has been busy at the headquarters of the Love the Nation Defenders of Democratic Party (PPDKB) on Jalan Wijaya, trying to make sure that his party can be approved for participation in the next election. As a result of his efforts, the party now has administrators in 28 provinces and 270 or so regencies.

At first, the PDKB Faction only had five members. Their number fell to four after Astrid Susanto was fired for frequently straying from the party line. Astrid then joined the FKKI. However, the PDKB Faction was disbanded after the DPR rules of order required factions to have a minimum of 10 members. After that, these four members joined the National Awakening Party (PKB). Nevertheless, they have chosen different parties to take part in the 2004 General Election. Gregorius and two others joined the PPDKB, while Manase Malo founded the Reformed Love the Nation Democratic Party (PDKB-P).

Abdul Kholiq Ahmad from the National Awakening Faction (FKB) has a different problem. His participation in the MPR Special Assembly in July of 2001 ended in an unresolved dispute with his party. This internal conflict has not dampened his enthusiasm for attending DPR sessions, but his relationship with the FKB is not as friendly as it once was. "Now, if we meet, it's just to say `hello'," he said.

He now waits for the court's decision on his lawsuit, which he filed after being fired for taking part in that MPR Special Assembly along with Matori Abdul Djalil. If the suit is judged in his favor, PKB will officially fall into Matori's hands, and the PKB camp led by Alwi Shihab will have to change its name. The opposite holds true if the verdict goes against him. However, said Kholiq, the Matori PKB camp has not yet prepared a new party, because they are sure that they will win the lawsuit.

For sure, power is one strong aphrodisiac.

Abdul Manan


'Mobile' House Members
Name 1999 Faction 2004
-"- Election Election
H.M. Husein Naro PP FKKI United Party
Abdul Kholiq Ahmad PKB PKB Pending
Astrid Susanto PDKB FKKI No Party
Gregorius Seto PDKB FKB Partai Pembela DKB
A.N. Radjawane PDKB FKB Partai Pembela DKB
K.T. Sirait PDKB FKB Partai Pembela DKB
Manase Malo PDKB FKB PDKB Pembaharuan
Hartono Mardjono PBB FDU PII
Abdul Qadir Jaelani PBB FDU Al-Islam Indonesia Party

TEMPO, MARCH 17, 2003-027/P. 25 Heading National


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