Jakarta – Indonesian voters will see four new parties in next year’s general election. They are United Indonesia Party (Perindo), Berkarya Party, the Indonesian Renewal Movement Party (Garuda), and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI). What is interesting is that despite carrying the label of new parties, many of the people behind them are old players.
The Berkarya Party’s founder is Hutomo Mandala Putra, also popularly called Tommy Soeharto. He is the youngest son of former President Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years before being toppled down by massive demonstrations in 1997. By Tommy joining the elections, old memories surrounding his father’s New Order era would eventually surface. He could target voters who are disappointed with the result the reformation period, preferring the return of Suharto-like regime. The Berkarya Party’s logo also looks similar the one used by Golkar, Soeharto’s former party.
Meanwhile, the chairman and founder of the Garuda Party, Ahmad Ridha Sabana founded the party in 2015. Ahmad is not a new name in the Indonesian political scene. He was active as part of the board of directors of PT Citra Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia, a TV station owned by Siti Hardijanti Rukmana, daughter of former President Suharto. Ahmad was also a legislative candidate of the Gerindra Party but did not win a seat at the parliament. He reportedly that Garuda Party aims to accommodate the aspiration of the young generation.
Along the same line, new party PSI also claimed to be one that aspire to accommodate the younger generation. Leads by Grace Natalie and supported by Isyana Bagoes Oka and a few more ‘big names’, the party is building a young image. The PSI party reportedly has more proportion of female members, at 66.6%, than the other parties, hoping to boost the number of female representatives in politics and parliament. Although the party is consisted of relatively new names in politics, the people behind the scene are old players, such as Mahfud MD and Chatib Basri who will be the board of recruitment process.
The Perindo Party was founded by Hary Tanoesoedibjo, an Indonesian media boss. Perindo General Secretary Ahmad Rofiq said that the party wants clean candidates, so they must be free from corruption and drugs. According to Sirajuddin Abbas from Saiful Mujani Research and Consultant (SMRC), Perindo has the highest chance of getting votes compared to the other new parties because it was introduced to the public much earlier.
Taking a glimpse of these four new parties, most appear to have similar political aims with existing parties. Nonetheless, these ‘new-but-old parties’ could still bring a different hope for voters through the provision a more options in the elections. At the end, it is up to the voters whether the fittest candidate who represent their society would eventually be elected.