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PKS, PDI-P seek common ground on MPR leadership, constitutional amendment

Jakarta Post - July 31, 2019

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – While the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has expressed its firm stance as an opposition party, it has expressed its readiness to open talks with the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on the compositional makeup of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

PKS executive Mardani Ali Sera confirmed on Tuesday that the party had discussed the matter with the PDI-P, including the MPR speakership, as well on the change in leadership at the House of Representatives.

"Informal and personal communication is still ongoing," Mardani told The Jakarta Post by phone, stressing that the Islamic party would remain as an opposition party.

Earlier, PDI-P has approached Prabowo Subianto's Gerindra Party and other parties that had won seats at the House during the April elections, and that it hoped that the MPR leadership composition would represent all political parties.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has not met with the PKS leadership since he was declared the winner of the 2019 presidential election, but he has met with the leaders of the three other political parties that backed the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign: Gerindra, National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party (PD).

Mardani said that the PKS did not seek the MPR speakership, but stressed that the party was ready to cooperate with other parties that shared similar agendas, like the PDI-P and the Golkar Party.

In particular, Mardani claimed that the parties were interested in transforming the country's political system through an amendment to the 1945 Constitution. "The elite at the PDI-P, Gerindra, PKS and PAN share the same vision," he said, referring to the constitutional amendment.

He added that the amendment would restore the MPR as the highest lawmaking institution in the country, as it was during president Soeharto's New Order regime.

The MPR was also expected to reclaim its authority in drafting a policy for long-term development plans like the state policy guidelines (GBHN), which was scrapped during the Reform Era.

A previous effort in 2017 to revive the GBHN through a constitutional amendment was unsuccessful.

The current discourse on increasing the MPR's legislative power is mulling two options: Granting the MPR greater authority to issue GBHN-like decrees or amending the Constitution with a new article on a state policy similar to the GBHN.

Constitutional law expert Bivitri Susanti from the Jentera Law School in Jakarta said she did not agree with the political parties' current efforts to seek common ground in the MPR, including its leadership composition.

Bivitri suggested that two "candidacy packages" should be formed to vie for the MPR leadership. For example, she said, the PDI-P could be in the same package with the PKS and PAN.

"There is no law that stipulates that the [candidacy] package should consist of only opposition parties or only ruling coalition parties," she said, adding that each package should have a shared vision on certain matters, such as amending the Constitution. (bbn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/07/31/pks-pdi-p-seek-common-ground-on-mpr-leadership-constitutional-amendment.html