Widodo Party Wins Indonesia Parliament Poll, Seeks Partner

Indonesian presidential frontrunner Joko Widodo’s party prevailed in official results of the nation’s April parliamentary elections, while falling short of the threshold needed for him to run without a coalition.

Widodo’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, won 18.95 percent of the April 9 vote, the General Elections Commission said in a presentation late yesterday in Jakarta. PDI-P aims for a maximum of four parties in its coalition, having already struck a deal with the National Democratic Party while seeking another with the National Awakening Party, or PBK, Tjahjo Kumolo, secretary general of PDI-P, said today in Jakarta.

The PDI-P needed at least 25 percent of the vote or 20 percent of parliamentary seats to nominate a presidential candidate without the help of other parties. Widodo, known as Jokowi, may need to seek a broad grouping that could limit his ability to carry out policy changes in Southeast Asia’s largest economy if he wins the presidential ballot in July.

“The results provide a formal basis for seat counting but they don’t speed up the coalition building process,” Djayadi Hanan, a political analyst from the University of Paramadina in Jakarta, said by phone today. “This still depends on the chemistry between party leaders and the sharing of seats in power.”

A formal deal with PDI-P awaited the parliamentary vote results, Marwan Jafar, head of PKB’s central executive board, said on May 3. The base for PKB comes from Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s biggest Muslim organization with 40 million supporters. Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Islamic population, and Widodo, 52, met clerics a week ago in areas of Java to discuss possibilities for cooperation.

Smaller Parties

Golkar, run by tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, won 14.75 percent of the parliamentary vote to take second place while the Gerindra party, led by former general Prabowo Subianto, was third with 11.81 percent, the elections commission said minutes before a midnight deadline to announce results. The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who cannot stand for a third term, got 10.19 percent, down from about 21 percent in 2009.

Islamic and smaller parties fared better than surveys had suggested ahead of the election. PKB won 9.04 percent, while the National Democratic Party, which has also expressed support for PDI-P, gained 6.72 percent, giving Widodo a potential coalition of more than a third of the total vote.

The number of seats each party has won in the 560-member parliament will probably be announced later this month.

Running Mate

Widodo has yet to unveil his running mate or a formal policy platform, having in recent weeks called for a boost to agricultural output and a gradual cut in fuel subsidies. That could free funds for the roads, ports and power networks needed to spur investment and create jobs in the world’s fourth-most populous nation, with economic growth the weakest since 2009.

Widodo must win more than 50 percent of the vote in the presidential election scheduled for July 9, or face a second round run-off in September.

He was the preferred president for 51.6 percent of respondents in an April 20-24 poll by survey company Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, down from 62 percent in a December poll. Prabowo was second with 35.7 percent, up from 23 percent in December, the survey showed.

Prabowo and Golkar’s Bakrie met on April 29 to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition. They share similar political views and both are nationalists, Bakrie told reporters afterward. The duo agreed to hold more talks, said Prabowo.

The vote difference between Widodo’s party and that of Prabowo aren’t that big, making it difficult for smaller parties to decide where to align themselves as both have a chance to win the presidency, said Dodi Ambardi, a political analyst at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

“Jokowi wants a slim coalition and that means fewer incentives” to attract other parties,’’ Ambardi said by phone today. “Prabowo is more willing to give promises such as vice presidential position and ministerial seats so he’s not worried too much about incentives.”

Prabowo, Bakrie

A partnership between Widodo’s two main opponents would give them 26.6 percent of the vote, based on the official parliamentary results. Gerindra is 99 percent certain of a coalition with the National Mandate Party, or PAN, which gained 7.59 percent of the vote, Fadli Zon, Gerindra’s deputy chairman, said yesterday. The Democratic Party, the Prosperous Justice Party and the United Development Party have not declared any allegiances.

“The biggest competitor for Jokowi right now is only Prabowo, as we haven’t seen people so far giving support for Aburizal Bakrie,” Nico Harjanto, chairman of Populi Center, a Jakarta-based public opinion and policy research organization, said by phone. “People are waiting for what he wants to focus on, as so many are doubting his ability to govern Indonesia. People and the market are waiting to see who will be his ministers.”

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