Jakarta – The Justice and Prosperity Party's (PKS) support for presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has clearly attracted a great deal of opposition. Aside from the PKS's own cadre opposition has also come from the People's Democratic Party (PRD).
The party, which is not participating in the elections, believes that PKS's actions are the same as a betrayal of the people's struggle against militarism and neoliberal imperialism. Two issues which have to date have been identified with SBY.
Despite this it doesn't mean that the PRD supports incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri, because from the very start, the party which was born under the repression of the New Order regime of former President Suharto has said that it will golput(1). They also oppose Megawati.
"The political contract made by PKS with the duet SBY-[Jusuf] Kalla is frail and has absolutely no basis. It has already been rejected by the fact that both of them have been involved in problematic issues", said PRD general secretary Zely Ariane during a press conference in Jakarta yesterday.
According to Ariane, the problem with Kalla's, a figure who originates from South Sulawesi, derives from when he was dismissed from former President Gus Dur's cabinet(2). "That was because he was suspected of corruption", she said. Similarly, SBY is considered to be the one most responsible for the implementation of a state of martial law in Aceh(3).
Therefore, before it is too late and PKS commits a political blunder, the PRD is calling on the PKS to withdraw its support for SBY. They are also calling on the PKS to join the pro-democratic movements and form a people's united front.
Zely also took the opportunity to call on all of the people's movements to build a untied government of the people. What does she mean?
"Yeah, a movement which can give rise to an alternative leader. A leadership of cooperation prior to forming a more democratic leadership", she said. (naz).
1. Golongan Putih, White Movement, championed by people such as the outspoken academic Arif Budiman, the term first emerged as a campaign by students in the 1971 elections and derives its name from marking the white section of the ballot paper rather than a party symbol or candidate's picture thereby making the vote invalid. In recent years the term has broadened to include not just intentionally casting an invalid vote but also vote abstention. Under new electoral laws introduced in 2003, golput, defacing a ballot paper or simply not voting is no longer an electoral offence although publicly encouraging others to do so remains punishable under law.
2. In April 2000, former President Abdurrahman Wahid dismissed then Trade Minister Jusuf Kalla for alleged involvement in corruption.
3. SBY was the coordinating minister for politics and security when President Megawati declared a state of martial law in Indonesia's northern-most province of Aceh on May 19, 2003.
[Translated by James Balowski.]