Fri, 23 Feb 2001

Politicians dismiss coalition proposal

JAKARTA (JP): Politicians dismissed on Thursday the possibility of establishing a permanent coalition among House of Representatives (DPR) factions, calling the proposal ineffective.

Secretary-General of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) Pramono Anung and House Speaker Akbar Tandjung said the proposal was simply an idea and should not be considered seriously.

"I think it's just an idea. Besides, a permanent coalition could only be established among political parties that share a similar platform and ideology," Pramono told journalists.

"I don't think that this is serious and I don't know where the idea's come from," he said.

Pramono said permanent coalition might be established in anticipation of the new law on political parties, which stipulates that only parties securing the five percent threshold can participate in the next general election.

Five major factions have proposed the establishment of a permanent coalition between factions of political parties to support the government in a bid to avoid further political turmoil in the country.

The idea was introduced by the chairmen of five prominent factions in the House -- the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), the United Development Party (PPP); the Reform faction, the Golkar Party and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) -- during a political seminar at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) on Wednesday.

Coalition is needed because the government can only work well with support from political parties in the House, they said.

The proposal was made following the issuance of a memorandum by the House on Feb. 1 which censured President Abdurrahman over two financial scandals. The memorandum could lead to a special session of the Assembly which may bring the incumbent President down.

Many have considered the memorandum as a sign that the President has lost the House's support for the completion of his tenure in 2004.

"It will be clearer if the idea concerns political support for the Cabinet as the Cabinet should represent real power in the House," Pramono said.

Similarly, Akbar Tandjung said there should be a clear context prior to establishing such permanent coalition needs and that cooperation between the House factions can only be established on certain issues, and not all of the time.

"I think that establishing cooperation between House factions is good, but whether the cooperation will be a permanent coalition should be carefully defined first. I agree with the proposal as long as it can improve the House's performance," Akbar said.

He suggested that efforts to avoid further political turmoil should not be held by establishing a coalition among political parties.

"It's the President who should perform his duties well and respond to the memorandum.

However, PPP chairman faction Alimarwan Hanan defended the idea saying that it was a mechanism to save the presidential institution. (dja)