The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) officially became the eighth political party and proposed Joko Widodo or Jokowi as the presidential candidate for the 2019 General Election. In the study of political science, the PDIP’s action of nominating a person from non-party circles can be called presidentialized party.
Studies on the presidentialized party give different emphasis points. Samuels (2002) is interested in the incentives that received by political parties with presidentialism. Poguntke and Webb (2005), Shugart and Samuels (2005), and Ufen (2017) focus on the presidentialization impact on the behavior of parties and elites. As for Kawamura (2013) questioned why not all parties in Indonesia have presidentialized. A recent study by Alhamid and Prime (2018) captures the phenomenon of Jokowi’s candidacy in the 2014 Election.
Jokowi’s presidential candidacy in 2014 is not something acceptable to common sense. Other parties, such as the Democratic Party and the Gerindra Party, nominate the general chairman. In addition, Megawati’s figure is so strong in the party with the bull with a white muzzle symbol. As a result, Jokowi’s candidacy was also not without ripples. On PDIP internal there are groups that agree and disagree (Alhamid and Perdana 2018).
In fact, ahead of the 2019 presidential election, the same pattern was reused. Though Jokowi did not come from the descents of Sukarno. There is Puan Maharani or other Bung Karno descents that have also stepped into practical politics. In addition, Jokowi is often referred to as “party officer”. It demonstrates that Jokowi is not a PDIP internal person. So why is the strategy to run Jokowi used again by PDIP? I argue it was caused by two things: the system design of elections and the “successful” figure that Jokowi have built on the political bargaining power.
In the theory of political science, there are several variables that are suspected to be the occurrence of presidentialized party. The first variable is the electoral system. Poguntke and Webb (2005) argue that the party presidency caused by the electoral system that emphasizes the leader figure, especially in the executive and political parties. Shugart and Samuels (2010) argue more or less the same. Only, Shugart and Samuels prefer to associate it as a result of the separation of powers. The second is the factor figure. Poguntke and Webb (2005) and Ufen (2017) mentioned that, in the formation of a presidentialized party, there is a factor of leaders who play a major role in it.
First, related to the system design of electoral. The presidential election which used the most votes system is encouraging political parties to promote the popularity and electability factors of the presidential candidates. Although some said Jokowi’s election is not yet fully secure, but until January 2018, according to some survey agencies, he is predicted to win the most votes. Plus, another candidate, Prabowo Subianto, predicted he has too much electability distance with Jokowi (ranging from 17-25 percent). At the same time, there are no alternative candidates in the PDIP internal, equal, or higher electability compared to Jokowi.
Another explanation is that PDIP hopes for a positive effect of the coattail effect. Such as the 2014 General Election, it is believed that there is a relatively great influence from Jokowi’s candidacy towards the increasing vote and PDIP seats in the DPR.
Secondly, Jokowi’s figure is also relatively successful in building the bargaining power in the eyes of many parties, especially PDIP. There is a symbiotic mutualism formed between the two. On the one hand, Jokowi realizes that he is not a party leader and needs a PDIP for the ticket to run. At the same time, Jokowi is also aware that PDIP will not be willing to give the ticket for free. PDIP needs to be convinced by Jokowi. His electability, which is by far the highest, is the one which he has shown. The “successful” image of building infrastructure is another point. Jokowi is also relatively accommodative to the PDIP by giving chairs, both in the cabinet and paved the way for the chairmanship of the DPR.
On the other hand, the PDIP also needs Jokowi to hoist their vote in the 2019 legislative elections. The link between presidentialized party behavior of the PDIP and the electoral system in Indonesia and the factor of figures is in line with what Poguntke and Webb (2005) and Ufen (2017) have said.
In the end, a mutually beneficial relationship between PDIP and Jokowi in Jokowi’s presidency is inevitable. It happens as the result of the electoral system and the strengthening of Jokowi figure in the eyes of PDIP.