Fikri Harish, Jakarta – With four days left until registration closes on Sunday, political parties are now scrambling to hand in their list of candidates vying for House of Representatives seats to the General Elections Commission (KPU).
The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) led the charge on Thursday, with the fellow pro-government NasDem Party following suit immediately.
The opposition Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was the first to register its candidates on Monday, while Hanura Party, which contested the 2019 legislative elections but failed to send its representatives to the House, completed its registration on Wednesday.
PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said in addition to the party's central board, PDI-P regional chapters would also simultaneously be registering their candidates for the provincial, regency or municipal legislative councils (DPRD) with the corresponding local KPU office next Monday.
For the national legislative election, the KPU required each party's central board to register their candidates with the KPU headquarters in Jakarta. While for regional legislative elections, each of the party's regional chapters has to register their candidates with their respective local KPU offices.
While PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri was absent, several senior PDI-P members, including lawmakers Djarot Saiful Hidayat and Arif Wibowo, accompanied Hasto for their submission at the KPU on Thursday. "Megawati conveyed her regards and instructed us to reaffirm the PDI-P's commitment to supporting the KPU [in preparation] for the general election," Hasto said.
The PDI-P currently holds 128 House seats, the most of any party, and Hasto said most of the party's incumbents would be seeking reelection, including House speaker and Megawati's daughter, Puan Maharani.
"From the current Cabinet, it is [Law and Human Rights Minister] Yasonna Laoly who will be contesting the legislative election," Hasto said.
Likewise, NasDem chair Surya Paloh was also absent, with his son, electoral committee chair Prananda Surya Paloh, leading the party delegates. However, the media mogul made a speech inside the party's headquarters in Jakarta earlier in the morning before party delegates left for the KPU office – during which Paloh reaffirmed the party's electoral ambitions.
"[Prananda] stated earlier that we've set a target of winning 100 seats in the House and, God willing, that target is within our reach," Paloh stated on Thursday. "History will show NasDem as a young party that made a breakthrough by becoming a major party in Indonesia."
NasDem currently holds 58 seats in the House, up from the 36 seats the party won in its debut during the 2014 legislative election. Two of NasDem's current Cabinet members, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo and Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate are just two of the 580 candidates NasDem has submitted in the legislative race.
After previously supporting the candidacy of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo of the PDI-P in the last two elections, the party decided to strike out on its own by nominating former Jakarta governor and opposition figurehead Anies Baswedan in the 2024 presidential election, which NasDem lawmaker Willy Aditya expected would help the party's goal of nabbing the top two spots in the 2024 legislative election.
"NasDem has been gaining momentum since the 2020 regional elections [for gubernatorial, regental or mayoral posts] and from the effect of Anies' nomination. Having our own presidential candidate has helped boost our confidence", Willy said during the press conference.
Newcomer the Ummah Party, established by Amien Rais following his departure from the National Mandate Party (PAN), a party he helped establish, is scheduled to submit its registration later in the day.
A total of 18 political parties will vie for 580 House seats during the legislative election, to be held concurrently with the presidential election on Feb. 14, 2024.