Monday, October 31, 2005

PKS to withdraw cabinet support & SBY's Golkar Maneuver

As reported by Kompas newspaper today, Prosperous and Justice Party (PKS) is preparing to withdraw its support from the cabinet of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as pressure from its grass roots intensified recently.
Secretary general Annis Matta said the party had told its cadres in the cabinet to prepare their bags packed and get out of the cabinet. The party review its coalition in the government as grass roots and constituents criticized heavily recent fuel price hike.
Whenever you read such story, better be careful. Last year, Prosperous and Justice Party (PKS) also made such statement demanding president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) to drop cabinet candidates with strong connection with International Monetary Fund (IMF).
But when SBY picked at least two names, Yusuf Anwar (former director at Asian Development Bank) and Sri Mulyani (former director at IMF) as minister of finance and national planning respectively, PKS maintain its support and secured three cabinet posts for its cadres.
I bet this time the party is bargaining on something bigger. We could still back you up, but give us more important portfolios!
PKS initially got three not-too important portfolios like young and sport, housing, and agriculture. Recently some says PKS managed to have State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Sugiharto as their cadre. Sugiharto was initially endorsed by Development United Party (PPP), but recently the party withdrew its support for Sugiharto.
So most likely PKS wanted to say something like this to SBY. Well, you may reshuffle the cabinet, but you have to keep our cadre Sugiharto in his current post. But, let's just see in the coming days.
SBY's Maneuver on Golkar
Over the weekend, president SBY invited senior politician and former chairman of Golkar Party Akbar Tanjung to his private residence. At the meeting, as disclosed by Akbar, SBY conveyed his message that Akbar should keep his eyes open towards Golkar even though he has no formal position in the party.
SBY clearly wanted to send signal to his deputy, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is also Golkar chairman. Competition between the two leaders intensified recently, including for a cabinet reshuffle plan. Akbar followers control majority seats of Golkar Party in the house of representatives. Last week, Kalla's supporters disclosed a plan to replace Golkar's representatives who are Akbar's followers. At the same time, SBY is expected to replace Kalla's allies in cabinet. Chief economic minister Aburizal Bakrie is the primary target.
Koran Tempo quoted unnamed Golkar executive saying the meeting between SBY and Akbar is important for SBY to build equilibrium with Kalla. But Akbar is also capitalizing the meeting as clearly shown by his attendance at the Vice President palace yesterday afternoon for an informal gathering.
The paper quoted Ahmad Mubarok, deputy chairman of Democrat Party (main supporter for SBY), saying the meeting has something to do with cabinet reshuffle. "The political calculation is like that. The new cabinet should unite Golkar Party, Democrat, and PKS. We could add National Mandate Party (PAN) or National Awakening Party (PKB)," he said.

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October 31, 2005 8:52 AM  

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