Jakarta – The National Mandate Party, or PAN, has joined the coalition of political parties supporting the Joko "Jokowi" Widodo government, an aide of the president said on Wednesday.
The news came shortly after leaders of political parties met at the State Palace at the invitation of the president, according to Information Technology Minister Johnny G. Plate.
"The gathering was at the invitation of the president and all party leaders of the coalition welcomed PAN's arrival represented by its chairman and secretary-general," Johnny said at his official residence in Jakarta.
"So the coalition now has a new partner, with the presence of PAN Chairman Zulkifli Hasan and Secretary-General Eddy Soeparno. A new member will further strengthen the coalition and add new ideas to the government," Johnny added.
With the latest development, President Jokowi now has the backing from seven of nine parties in the 575-member House of Representatives.
The coalition brings together 471 House seats or 81 percent of overall lawmakers, a supermajority never seen before in the post-Soeharto era.
That leaves the Social Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party in the opposing site.
But even before PAN's arrival, the government was already in a comfortable position with three biggest parties – the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the Golkar Party and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) – unifying their support for the government at the beginning of Jokowi's second term in late 2019.
However, the coalition could break up easily ahead of the 2024 legislative and presidential elections as Jokowi already reaches the constitutional limit that bars him from being nominated for another term.
For any party or coalition of parties to nominate a presidential candidate, it must have at least 20 percent of House seats. No party has met the threshold and their struggle to nominate a candidate will represent the most political dynamic of the Indonesian democracy two or three years from now when they begin to build a coalition.
Things can change very rapidly and dramatically in the Indonesian politics.
The Gerindra Party, for example, was once considered as Jokowi's fiercest opposition with its chairman Prabowo Subianto becoming his sole challenger in the last two presidential elections.
The party joined the government coalition after Jokowi, in a reconciliatory move, appointed Prabowo as defense minister in October 2019.