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Papernas abandons election bid, seeking coalition partner

Java Post - May 2, 2008

Jakarta – The National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) has decided to be realistic. They have chosen to postpone their desire to take part in the 2009 legislative and presidential elections. They have taken this position because of pressures that have emerged since the political party was launched in Jakarta on July 22, 2006.

“We’re just being realistic, it’s not a problem. Moreover, the aim of forming a party is not just to take part in elections”, said Papernas advisory council chairperson Dita Indah Sari in Jakarta yesterday, May 1. Sari claimed that the communist stigma that has been attached to Papernas had become one of the biggest problems for the party.

Because they are no longer aiming to take part in the 2009 elections, Papernas has not registered itself with the Department of Justice and Human Rights in order to be verified as a legal entity. Papernas is not planning to register with the department headed by Justice Minister Andi Mattalatta until next August. “We are indeed pursuing the 2014 elections”, she asserted.

Then, what will Papernas do in the 2009 elections? Sari explained that Papernas is in the process of preparing to enter into a coalition. “But, I can’t mention the name of the party. The thing is, its still under negotiation”, said Sari evasively when asked which political party will be Papernas’s coalition partner. “What is clear is it won’t be the Golkar Party or the PDI-P [Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle]”, added Sari laughing.

Sari is of the view that it would be better to enter into a coalition with a party that is not too large or well established. In this way Papernas’s idea is that it will have a greater potential to be accommodated. “If it’s a party that’s already established, our ideas would surely be rejected. Older and senior figures are usually unwilling to make way”, she said.

Because of this therefore continued Sari, it is most likely that Papernas’s will enter into a colation with a political party that is also still seeking a format. “Perhaps, a new party so that we can be more creative”, she asserted.

According to Sari, Papernas has set a number of criteria for a political party that could invite to enter into a coalition. For example, a pro-autonomous economic platform and not taking up the concept of a religious state. “We hope, their elite [leadership] would also have a track record that isn’t totally rotten”, she said.

So if Papernas is already planning to participate in the 2014 elections, does this mean that a coalition in 2009 is simply pragmatic in nature? “If cooperation is agreeable, yeah, it could continue. But, we are still making preparations in case midway it turns out not to be compatible”, said the activist born in the East Java city of Medan on December 20, 36 years ago. (pri/mk)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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