Lenny Tristia Tambun, Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Monday to discuss the internal rift at the United Development Party (PPP), of which he was the chairman until a national congress ousted him last week.
His fellow cabinet member, Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, approved the new PPP leadership which sees the party's oversight council head Muhammad Mardiono as the acting chairman in a decision that effectively ended Suharso's command in the Muslim-based party on Friday.
That means the president himself has accepted the fact that Suharso is no longer a party leader.
After the meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta, Suharso declined to provide details about his conversation with the president. "We talked about many things, including that particular issue [PPP] and the new capital city," Suharso told reporters.
When asked further about his next moves in response to his dismissal from the party, he replied: "I will settle this in the best manner."
He has attempted to challenge his dismissal by holding a separate congress but his efforts were ended prematurely by Friday's decision from the Justice Ministry, which also prevents prolonged conflicts in the party which has been marred by dual leaderships for several years prior to Suharso becoming chairman.
Jokowi said last week he cannot intervene in the internal affairs of a political party, although the law requires all parties to register their leadership board to the Justice Ministry.
The new PPP chairman, Mardiono, is also a member of the Advisory Council for the President.
Mardiono claimed the party is no longer facing internal conflicts and called Suharso a "friend" as he visited the General Election Commission (KPU) office in Jakarta later in the day to register the new leadership structure.
"My relationship with Mr. Suharso Monoarfa will continue to be good because he is a mentor and a friend to me," Mardiono said.
PPP is one of the oldest political parties in the country. During Soeharto's 32-year tenure, it became one of only three parties competing for the legislature alongside the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), which now transforms into the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and controls the most seats in the House of Representatives.