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Indonesian Opposition Wins Control of MPR


Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures after a meeting with members of his Red and White coalition, Jakarta, July 20, 2014.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures after a meeting with members of his Red and White coalition, Jakarta, July 20, 2014.

Indonesia's opposition coalition has scored another victory by claiming a majority in the country's People’s Consultative Assembly, known widely as the MPR.

The Red and White Coalition (KMP) supporters of Prabowo Subianto Wednesday narrowly beat the Great Indonesian Coalition (KIH) of President-elect of Joko Widodo by 337 to 330 votes to take control of the largely ceremonial body. KMP also won the parliamentary elections held in April but lost the presidential vote in July.

Speaking in Jakarta Wednesday, Widodo said that his government will run well even with the opposition in control of parliament and the MPR.

“I want to convey to you, politics could change every minute, every hour, every day, etc... Everything could change. Just as what I had experienced. As long as the program is for the people, I think there shouldn’t be any problem,” he said.

Masinto Pasaribu, a member of Widodo's coalition, says it has become clear there is a hidden agenda to undermine efforts of the Widodo administration.

“There’s a hidden political agenda of the Red and White coalition," Pasaribu said. "Their first target is to disrupt the stability of the [Joko] Jokowi-JK administration in the future. Then their primary target is, with their ability to create political destabilization and its impact on the economy, is to impeach the legal government of Jokowi-JK.”

But Hidayat Nur Wahid, leader of a faction within the KMP coalition, objects to the allegation.

“A strong executive needs a strong checks and balances supervision. Only then would Mr. Jokowi’s program ... be effectively implemented," he said. "Otherwise, without strong supervision, most likely what had happened in the past could happen again. So I hope the strength and the solidity of KMP should not be looked at in a negative manner.”

Refly Harun, a constitutional law expert, said a Jokowi-JK administration could not be disrupted by the KMP in parliament because Indonesia is under the presidential system of government.

“Actually with our presidential system, the Indonesian president has a much stronger position compared to the U.S. president," Harun said. "The Indonesian president has a 50 percent power in parliament. With having the 50 percent, a president has the power of making laws, so he or she should never have any hesitation, because any legislation with which a president disagrees, it could not be passed in parliament and vice versa. A president couldn’t impose any law without parliament’s approval.”

The Indonesian currency tumbled to a new low on Wednesday. According to some economic analysts, the currency is weak because of the market's negative response to the MRP leadership elections.

But others disagree, suggesting this is only a market sentiment and in the future, even if there are differences between the two coalitions, they would be able to reach agreements on various economic programs for the welfare of the nation.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.

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