Jokowi’s coalition remains solid after PPP leadership crisis

The Law and Human Rights Minister issued a decree that confirms Muhammad Mardiono as the party's acting chairman until Suharso’s term expires in 2025.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


The chairman of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Suharso Monoarfa brief reporters following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (Mou) between PT Indonesia Mecca Tower and Bayarind Artha Nusa Internusa in Jakarta on Monday.(JP/ydp)

September 12, 2022

JAKARTA – Experts said that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s big-tent government coalition remained untroubled despite the recent internal rift within the United Development Party (PPP) that saw chairman Suharso Monoarfa ousted from office last week, as the government had moved swiftly to recognize the party’s new acting leader.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly issued a decree that confirms Muhammad Mardiono as the party’s acting chairman until Suharso’s term expires in 2025.

A party meeting last week removed Suharso from his post over his “slip of the tongue” that angered Muslim clerics in the face of the PPP’s declining popularity, and replaced him temporarily with Mardiono, who at the time was the party’s advisory council chairman.

Suharso, who is also National Development Planning Minister in the Cabinet, has in recent months been engulfed in scandals, including allegations of receiving gratuities linked to the use of private jets in 2020 and repeated demonstrations at the party’s Jakarta headquarters calling for his removal. The straw that broke the camel’s back was his remarks on Aug. 15 that suggested he had to leave “envelopes” of money whenever he wanted to meet with Muslim clerics, which angered many.

Political analyst Firman Noor of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) said on Sunday that the infighting within the PPP would not likely dent the unity of Jokowi’s government coalition, which covers seven political parties, including the PPP.

“All the issues are internal, and the change is only at the top [in the leadership of the party], while everything else remains the same. In addition, the reasons cited [for Suharso’s removal] had nothing to do with the PPP being disappointed with Jokowi’s administration,” Firman said.

Other parties within Jokowi’s coalition would also likely refrain from intervening, Firman added, saying that Jokowi would likely not take any issue with Mardiono becoming the new PPP chairman, particularly since they both shared a good rapport.

Mardiono serves as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) and is a close ally of Jokowi.

With Mardiono becoming the new chair, the PPP’s support for Jokowi’s administration would remain secure, Firman said.

“The government quickly approved of the change [of party leadership] because this will not disturb Jokowi’s administration. Maybe this is also Jokowi’s way of appreciating the support the PPP has given to him,” Firman added.

The PPP’s change in leadership has come at a time when the General Elections Commission (KPU) is verifying the internal and membership documents for political parties looking to contest the 2024 legislative, presidential and regional elections.

The PPP is set to contest the 2024 elections in a political partnership with the Golkar Party and the National Mandate Party (PAN), under the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB) banner, which it formed in June this year.

While the KIB coalition makes up around 25 percent of parliamentary seats, it has yet to decide on a single presidential candidate.

Mardiono said that he would look to settle the internal rift within the party first, before attending to the party’s external partnerships.

“[We need to] finish this homework first, since, more or less, some [of the preparations for the elections] have been hampered,” Mardiono said on Saturday, as quoted by

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