Jakarta – the chairperson of the National Movement to Safeguard the Fatwa (GNPF) Ulama, Yusuf Muhammad Martak, has declared that they are no longer aligned with supporters of Prabowo Subianto.
This position he said was taken in concert with the end of the 2019 presidential election (pilpres). "The (2019 pilpres) is over, yeah it's over", said Martak when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Saturday July 13.
As is well known, Martak is one of the people who frequently visited Prabowo's private residence in Jl Kertanegara in Jakarta during the 2019 presidential election. He was one of the people that accompanied Prabowo when he publically claimed that he had won the election not long after the Indonesia went to be polls on April 17.
Martak also initiated the Ijtima Ulama (a meeting or assembly of Islamic clerics) which supported Prabowo and running mate Sandiaga Uno's presidential ticket. Martak was also registered as a member of the Prabowo-Sandiaga election campaign team's (BPN) advisory board.
Nevertheless, Martak now claims that his group was never in a collation with the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket. He said that the GNPF Ulama was only part of the same path of struggle during the presidential election.
"There was never any kongsi [association, alliance, collusion]. [Just] one channel of struggle, right", said Martak.
As has been reported, on Saturday afternoon Prabowo and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a meeting at an MRT station in Jakarta. They then ate lunch together in the Senayan area of South Jakarta.
During the meeting, Prabowo and Widodo no longer looked like rivals. They shook hands, embraced and chatted with each other interwoven with bursts of laughter.
With regard to the meeting, Martak was reluctant to comment at length. He claimed however that the GNPF Ulama did not withdraw from the ranks of the Prabowo-Sandiaga coalition because they were disappointed with Prabowo for wanting to meet with Widodo.
"That's his right. We have not yet taken a position because it hasn't been discussed yet. We're pretty easy about it", said Martak. (bmw/lav)
Along with the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212), the National Movement to Safeguard the Fatwa of Ulama (GNPF-U) was born out of the 2016-17 demonstrations against former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama. Since then it has struggled to maintain its relevance and while insisting that it is a purely religious movement to "defend Islam", in 2018 it openly aligned itself with the political coalition supporting Prabowo Subianto's presidential election bid. In September for example, the GNPF-U held an Ulama Conference (Ijtimak Ulama) where Prabowo signed an integrity pact containing promises he would fulfill should he win the election.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "GNPF Tarik Diri dari Barisan Pendukung Prabowo-Sandi".]