21 January 2008

Papernas's key 'electoral partner' now eyeing coalition with party of former President Suharto

Java Post - December 10, 2007

Jakarta -- The small political parties in the Houseof Representatives (DPR) who are unable to pass theelectoral threshold of 3 percent are looking for thebest way to participate in the 2009 generalelections. They are left with only two choices, toform a new party or change their name, or to joinwith other smaller parties in the DPR in order toget enough seats to pass the threshold.

The latest series of maneuverings at Senayan (theDPR) involves three small parties: the ProsperousPeace Party (PDS) that has 13 seats, the PioneerParty that has three seats and the IndonesianDemocratic Vanguard Party PPDI that has only oneseat. With a total of 17 seats they hope to be ableto fulfill the 3 percent electoral threshold.

Prior to the emergence of the PDS-Pioneer Party-PPDIcombination, there was a failed attempt at a ReformStar Party (PBR) and Vanguard Party formation underthe name of the Reform Star Vanguard Party (PPBR).

As soon as this ran aground, the PBR that has 14seats in the DPR veered sharply and approached theUnited Democratic Nationhood Party (PPDK), which hasfour seats in the parliament. According to PBRgeneral chairperson Bursah Zarnubi, they have already prepared an alternative option if the PPDK maneuver fails.

The formation that is currently being worked on aPBR-PKPB-PNI Marhaen coalition. The PKPB or theConcern for the Nation Functional Party has 2 seatswhile the Marhaenisme Indonesian National Party onlyhas one seat. "But this formation already fulfillsthe 3 percent electoral threshold right", explainedZarnubi. (pri/tom/mk)

The Concern for the Nation Functional Party (PKPB)is chaired by Raden Hartono, a former Suharto armycommander and ex-official of Golkar, the party whichbacked his regime. He proudly calls himself aSuharto lackey. "With an extraordinary boldness Iwant to affirm that I am a Suharto lackey", Hartonotold party followers during a campaign rally inMarch 2004. On March 14 Hartono admitted toDetik.com that he missed the greatness of the NewOrder government under Suharto's leadership addingthat "The establishment of PKPB has also obtainedSuharto's blessing". Suharto's eldest daughter Siti"Tutut" Hardiyanti Rukmana was chosen as the PKPB'spresidential candidate in the last elections withHartono pledging that he would bring the good olddays back to the country if she were elected aspresident.

[Slightly abridged Translation by Afanti]

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