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PPP opens doors to PDI-P, leans toward closed-list election

Jakarta Post - March 9, 2023

Fikri Harish, Jakarta – Amid rumors of its deepening ties with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Muhamad Mardiono, the acting chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), revealed that his party was planning to meet with the dominant party soon, and that an electoral alliance between the two was a possibility.

"Of course, we want to invite [the PDI-P] to form an [alliance], given our small stature with just 4.5 percent of seats [in the legislature]," Mardiono said on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara.

He added that the party planned to meet with the PDI-P sometime next week as part of its "political safari", or road show, ahead of the 2024 general election.

The PPP is a member of the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB), along with fellow pro-government parties the Golkar Party and the National Mandate Party (PAN). Mardiono insists, however, that an alliance with the PDI-P would not necessarily mean the PPP leaving the KIB, which indicates a possibility of the PDI-P joining the KIB instead.

PAN has previously hinted at backing PDI-P politician and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo in the 2024 presidential race, and some analysts have said that the KIB is waiting on the PDI-P to give the nod to the popular governor to run for president.

Mardiono's statement came after a meeting between PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto and PPP council head Muhammad "Romy" Romahurmuziy came to light last week.

Since their meeting, Romy has continued to double down on the parties' burgeoning relationship, saying that Hasto previously offered to form an alliance with the PPP.

"Hasto has proposed a coalition before, during the days of our acting chairman Harso, and yesterday he repeated the proposal," Romy said as quoted by Tribunnews.com, referring to Suharso Monoarfo, who was ousted in September.

He added that the two parties had a long history of cooperation, such as during the presidency of the PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, whose vice president was former PPP chairman Hamzah Haz, and Ganjar's current pairing with PPP politician Taj Yasin Maimoen as his deputy governor.

Romy also voiced his support for employing the closed-list system for the 2024 legislative election, as the current system of open list proportional representation tended to cost more and engendered voters' loyalty to individual candidates instead of the values championed by political parties.

"Results have also shown that the PPP benefits more from the closed-list system," he added. "Our Kaaba symbol is easier to promote, especially to activists at mosques and pesantren [Islamic boarding schools]."

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court is still reviewing a petition to restore the closed-list system, filed by a PDI-P member along with several other plaintiffs.

In a closed-list system, voters elect a political party that then gives the seats it has won in the House of Representatives to its candidates according to a predetermined, hierarchical list.

The House presented its arguments for maintaining the open list system during a hearing in late February, when eight House factions, including the PPP, asked the court to reject the petition to institute the closed-list system. The PDI-P faction, however, asked that the court rule in favor of the petition.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/03/09/ppp-opens-doors-to-pdi-p-leans-toward-closed-list-election.htm