Indonesia’s New Parliament Inaugurated; Clash on Speaker Voting
A total of 555 people have been officially inaugurated as members of Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) for the period 2014-2019 on Wednesday (01/10). The ceremony was witnessed by incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as well as President-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his running mate Jusuf Kalla. The Jokowi-Kalla pair will be inaugurated as the country’s next president and vice-president on 20 October 2014. The PDI-P, winner of the legislative election, is the largest party in the House.
Composition Indonesia's DPR 2014-2019:
The DPR actually has a total of 560 members. However, five politicians could not be inaugurated on Wednesday as they have been named suspects in unresolved corruption cases. These politicians are Jero Wacik (Democratic Party), Iqbal Wibisono (Golkar), Idham Samawi (PDI-P), Herdian Koesnadi (PDI-P), and Jimmy Demianus Ijie (PDI-P). The country’s General Elections Commission (KPU) had requested that these five would not be sworn in.
Voting for Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR)
After the inauguration of the new DPR, voting for the post of Speaker of the DPR took place. As expected this would lead to a clash between fractions that support Jokowi and those that oppose him. Opponents of Jokowi have established the Merah-Putih coalition (a coalition of political parties that is led by defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto), which controls 68 percent of seats in parliament and thus is a major force that can block Jokowi's reform programs.
Although previously the post of House Speaker had been appointed by the largest political party (PDI-P based on the 2014 legislative election), the Merah-Putih coalition has succeeded in passing a law through the House that stipulates that this post is now decided by a majority of votes in the House. With the Merah-Putih coalition controlling the majority of House seats, this key position thus went to an opponent of Jokowi. In the early morning of Thursday (02/10), it led to a clash between both camps as the four political parties that support Jokowi - the National Awakening Party (PKB), People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and the National Democratic Party (NasDem) - walked out amid deliberations on selecting the Speaker saying that they would not accept the outcome of the voting. Eventually Setya Novanto (Golkar) was elected as next Speaker of the House. Deputy Speaker-elects are Fadli Zon (Gerindra), Agus Hermanto (PD), Taufik Kurniawan (PAN), and Fahri Hamzah (PKS).
These recent developments within Indonesia’s parliament are worrying signs that conflicts within the small political elite of Indonesia (triggered by lust for political power) will continue to block social and economic development of Indonesia. The market reacted negatively on Thursday’s trading day. Indonesia’s benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index) had fallen 1.85 percent by 11.15 am local Jakarta time.