The Golkar party decided Friday to form a broad coalition with the opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri’s PDI-P (Indonesia Democratic Party – Struggle), leaving its troubled alliance with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The new coalition intends to oust Yudhoyono in the upcoming July elections.
Yudhoyono is widely tipped to win re-election given his personal approval ratings of 45-50 percent, putting him well ahead of potential rivals including Megawati and Jusuf Kalla, the chair of Golkar who is currently Yudhoyono's vice president.
However, the new coalition has yet to present a unified election platform, and have not been able to announce the all-important issue of who they back for president, nor were the party chiefs able to describe a single joint policy.
Golkar chairman Yusuf Kalla side-stepped the question of who the new coalition would put forward to challenge Yudhoyono in the presidential elections.
"There are two steps in a coalition. The first is to unite on basic policies, then there is the discussion about president and vice president," he said.
Megawati is seen as the strongest rival to liberal ex-general and Democratic Party chief Yudhoyono, who is seeking a second term in the world's third largest democracy.
Megawati was also the Indonesian president from 2001 to 2004.
However, her party won a similar percentage of the vote in the April 9 general elections as Golkar did, leaving the position of coalition leader and presidential candidate up in the air.
Golkar, the ruling party under the Suharto regime, was the main party in Yudhoyono's outgoing coalition and is unlikely to cede a shot at the presidency without any balancing gains, having left Yodhoyono’s outgoing coalition precisely over the issue of whether to seek the presidency for itself.
The Straits Times, Bitter Kalla refutes claims , 4 May 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_372...
AFP, Indonesian parties form new coalition, 2 May 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gvfkG7GyJPC0RqSQBB7IT...