March 28, 2023
JAKARTA – Chairman of the country’s third largest party, the Golkar Party, Airlangga Hartarto over the weekend joined an Iftar dinner organized by the NasDem Party during which he shared the table with a number of senior politicians from the opposition camp.
During the dinner held at the NasDem headquarters in Central Jakarta, Airlangga was joined by party chairman Surya Paloh, the party’s presidential candidate Anies Baswedan, chairman of the Democratic Party Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and former vice president Jusuf Kalla.
Also joining Airlangga during the dinner were Secretary-General of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Aboe Bakar Alhabsyi and deputy chairman of the United Development Party (PPP) Rusli Effendi.
Speaking after the dinner, Airlangga said the meeting felt like a reunion, especially with some senior politicians attending the event who were once Golkar members.
“We’re very close, because Pak Surya Paloh was once chairman of Golkar’s advisory board during the leadership of Pak Jusuf Kalla, who was also the country’s 10th and 12th vice president,” Airlangga told a press briefing.
Airlangga also said he was open to the possibility of working with NasDem, given the close ties between the two party’s senior politicians.
“As one of the oldest parties in the country, we’re open to all parties in the country […] and we expect that Golkar and NasDem can maintain ties for the future,” said Airlangga, who is also the Coordinating Economic minister.
Airlangga’s overture to the NasDem Party took place as other members of the Golkar-led United Indonesia Coalition (KIB) are weighing their options whether it would back the presidential ticket backed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, especially after the President appeared to have zeroed in on his choice of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
The NasDem Iftar dinner took place only days after President Jokowi issued a circular, banning government ministers from holding or joining Iftar dinners during this year’s Ramadan.