The more I use the analogy of horse racing, the more I like it. Much of life is a gamble and there's no such thing as a sure bet, so any assumption that you're certain to win is false. Whatever your beliefs, it's all ultimately in the laps - or lapse - of the gods.
That's why I'm puzzled by the leading Democratic Party (PD) of SBY which is putting together a 'golden bridge' coalition in order to govern effectively. Given that his current administration has been hamstrung by a corrupt, incompetent and divisive legislature, it is inevitable that the party's governing board wants a majority of the new legislature on their side.
However, it appears from preliminary results that only nine of the 38 parties which contested the election will have sufficient votes (2.5%) to place their most popular candidates, votewise, in the hot seats.
As I predicted
, it looks as though the Golkar Party will continue to cling to the coattails of power, even going as far as to allow Jusuf Kalla to continue as Vice President, even though many of the party's cadres think he should run for the presidency himself. To be fair, central board is going through the notions of decentralised democracy in offering a slate of familiar party figures to the regional boards to choose from. These include media mogul Suryo Paloh, former party chairman Akbar Tanjung and the Sultan of Yogyakarta.
Add Golkar's c.14.5% to the Democrat's c.20.5% and SBY will have a considerable base to operate from, especially as the National Awakening Party (PKB), with c.5.10% has agreed to join forces.
However, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) is threatening to opt out of joining the government if Kalla is named VP again and that is a possible c.8.25% lost, although this does not mean that the PKS, which reserves the right to nominate its own vice presidential candidate, would join the opposition.
This will be lead by Megashopper's PDI-P, with c.14.25%, which has been joined by the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerinda), with c.4.40%, of born-again people's champion and their former arch-enemy Gen. Prabowo (ret), and the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), with c.3.60%, of former army chief Gen. Wiranto (ret) who fired Prabowo in 1998 following an attempted palace coup in the aftermath of Suharto's 'abdication'.
This rump, with the added bonus of former President Gus Dur, who lost his power base of the National Awakening Party (PKB) in a family tiff, is challenging the election results due to, they say, the disenfranchising of millions of potential voters left off the electoral rolls. That all parties were asked to check the rolls for such discrepancies seems to elude their thinking, although it must be admitted that the General Elections Commission (KPU) has displayed a measurable degree of incompetence in spite of the massive complexities of organising an election in this vast country.
None of this surprises or puzzles me.
What does, however, is that the Democratic Party is seeking to form their coalition with a number of parties which are unlikely to reach the threshold enabling them to place members in the National Assembly, although they may well have gained seats in regional and local governments.
So far these parties include the Concern for the Nation Functional Party (PKPB) set up by Tutut Rukmana, Suharto's eldest daughter, the Crescent Star Party ((PBB), the Democratic Reform Party (PDP), the National Sun Party (PMB), the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKP), the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS), the Indonesian Workers and Employers Party (PPPI), and the Pioneers' Party.
I presume that all this is designed to ensure that SBY will get re-elected as President, but that is an almost foregone conclusion as there are no credible alternatives.
There is one encouraging possibility to consider. For once, politicos may be taking a long term position. Five years can be a long time in politics and the next election will see a drastic pruning of the number of parties eligible to nominate candidates. These will be those which have members taking their places in the next House of Representatives, presumably just the nine currently predicted.