Aichi Halik, Jakarta – The National Democratic Party and Golkar Party have assuaged concerns over a potential split in Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's coalition by denying plans to end their support for the president.
Rumors of a potential split emerged this week after National Democratic Party (NasDem) chairman Surya Paloh hosted a meeting on Monday between Golkar and two other parties without the presence of representatives of Jokowi's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Paloh also announced NasDem's support for Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan's 2024 presidential bid on Thursday, the same day Prabowo Subianto, chairman of the opposition Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), met with PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri to discuss the possibility of his party joining Jokowi's coalition.
Many see these moves as an attempt to send a strong signal of disagreement with the plan, which could split Jokowi's coalition. However, Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto denied any notion of a split.
"That meeting was not scheduled. It was for Mr. Surya Paloh's birthday. We will be meeting with other coalition members soon," Airlangga, who also serves as industry minister, said at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
He added that they would discuss the planned inclusion of Prabowo and members of his party in Jokowi's next cabinet. "That must be discussed, but we prioritize coalition members. All members of the coalition should be accommodated," the minister said.
Airlangga, Muhaimin Iskandar of the National Awakening Party (PKB) and Suharso Manoarfa of the United Development Party (PPP) met at Paloh's home in Jakarta on Monday, without representatives of the PDI-P, People's Conscience Party (Hanura), Crescent Star Party (PBB) and Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI).
Muhaimin later said they only talked about solidarity between the chairmen of the parties in the coalition.
NasDem also said Jokowi's coalition remained solid and that there was no pressing need to add new members.
"At the moment, the coalition is very solid, strong and healthy. If a new party must come in, it must add solidity, increase strength and increase the health of the coalition," NasDem secretary general Johnny G. Plate said on Thursday.
"If it is the opposite, if it does not add solidity, does not add health and does not add to the coalition's strength, of course [we will] think twice," he added. "At the moment, we are not thinking of widening the coalition."