Indonesia’s Prabowo On Brink of Parliamentary Majority After Receiving Rival Party’s Backing

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Indonesia’s Prabowo On Brink of Parliamentary Majority After Receiving Rival Party’s Backing

The NasDem party, which backed a competing presidential candidate, said it was ready to pledge its “full support” for the ex-general’s administration.

Indonesia’s Prabowo On Brink of Parliamentary Majority After Receiving Rival Party’s Backing

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto stands on stage during his final election rally at a stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, February 10, 2024.

Credit: Facebook/Prabowo Subianto

Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto looks set to receive the support of the NasDem party, which backed a rival candidate at February’s general election, moving him a step closer to securing a majority in the new parliament.

Surya Paloh, the head of the NasDem party, told reporters yesterday that the party was ready to pledge its “full support” for Prabowo’s administration, which takes office in October, Reuters reported.

Surya spoke after a meeting with Prabowo, one of several that the former general has held with rival parties in a bid to convince them to support his administration to give it a majority that will enable him to advance his agenda in parliament. NasDem was part of a coalition that backed Prabowo’s rival, Anies Baswedan, a former governor of Jakarta, in the February 14 race, and won just under 10 percent of the vote in the legislative portion of the election. According to the Reuters report, however, Surya did not explicitly say whether or not NasDem would join Prabowo’s coalition.

Speaking alongside Surya after their meeting yesterday, Prabowo said: “We agreed to work together for the interests of Indonesians as much as possible.”

Prabowo won a decisive victory at the election, clinching more than 58 percent of the vote compared to just under 25 percent of the vote for Anies, and less than 17 percent of the vote for the third candidate, Ganjar Pranowo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Prabowo has engaged in a flurry of coalition talks since Wednesday, when the General Elections Commission proclaimed Prabowo and his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s eldest son, the winners of the 2024 presidential election. This came after the Constitutional Court rejected complaints filed by the two losing candidates, who alleged that Prabowo’s victory had been tainted by fraud and state interference.

Despite the scale of this victory, the results of the concurrent parliamentary election were fragmented, with the leading party – the PDI-P – claiming just 16.7 percent of the vote. Prabowo’s Gerindra party won 13.2 percent, giving it 86 of the 580 seats in the House of Representatives, with 291 required for a majority. Prabowo’s current alliance, the Advanced Indonesia Coalition, includes eight parties holding 280 seats in the House – around 48 percent of the total. NasDem’s support would push him over the line of a majority, enabling him to enact his legislative agenda more effectively.

In addition to Prabowo’s party Gerindra, the Advanced Indonesia Coalition includes Golkar, the National Mandate Party (PAN), and the Democratic Party.

As Reuters reports, Prabowo on Wednesday met with Muhaimin Iskandar, the chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Anies’ vice-presidential running-mate. While Muhaimin agreed to work with Gerindra “to serve the interests of all our people,” Tempo made clear that the PKB “is yet to confirm whether or not it will join Prabowo’s government after the latter’s inauguration on October 20.”

According to Reuters, Gerindra has said that it plans to hold talks with political heavyweight Megawati Sukarnoputri, the matriarch of the PDI-P.

Indonesia has a recent history of broad and inclusive coalitions, and Jokowi’s current coalition includes eight of the nine parties with seats in parliament. This stems from the fact that political parties usually have weak ideological bases, allowing for swift and opportunistic realignments. Prabowo will likely seek to erect a similar big tent, in the hope of creating a strong political mandate for his policy agenda, which is expected to carry on Jokowi’s developmentalist focus.

Speaking at a ceremony where he was confirmed as the election winner on Wednesday, Prabowo, promised to fight for all Indonesians and called for the country’s political elites to cooperate with his administration.

“I will prove that I will fight for all Indonesians, including those who did not vote for me,” Prabowo said. “If Indonesia wants to survive, becoming a prosperous country, all elites must work together. If we dare to leave our differences aside, let’s leave our feelings, let’s find our love for the country, let’s sacrifice together for our people.”