The Secretary General of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Hasto Kristiyanto, revealed that PDIP General Chair Megawati Sukarnoputri has not given her approval for several ministers to resign from President Joko Widodo’s cabinet. Despite this, observers suggest that PDIP aims to retain its presence in the government, contradicting the stance of Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD.
Devi Darmawan, a political observer from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), interprets Megawati’s decision as a strategy to maintain political influence. According to Darmawan, PDIP seeks to stay in power to continue providing checks and balances on the government, even if it complicates Mahfud MD’s position.
Ministerial Resignation Dilemma
PDIP Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto stated that several ministers were willing to resign due to the unfavorable political situation, especially after the appointment of Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as Prabowo Subianto’s vice-presidential candidate. Despite the readiness of these ministers to step down, Megawati prioritizes the stability of the government.
Assessing the Political Situation
Hasto emphasized the importance of monitoring political developments to determine the opportune moment for resignations. He acknowledged the potential for “third parties to take advantage of the political unrest” and emphasized the need to carefully choose the right timing.
Mahfud MD’s Intention to Resign
Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD expressed his desire to resign from Jokowi’s cabinet, citing the intention to freely disclose data and criticize the government. President Jokowi respected Mahfud’s decision, acknowledging its correctness.
Devi Darmawan speculates that Megawati fears a “snowball effect” if Mahfud resigns, leading to more ministers leaving the cabinet. While Megawati considers the impact on the party’s future, there are also concerns about Mahfud’s decision affecting PDIP’s position in the government.
Mahfud’s Party Affiliation
Devi Darmawan notes that Mahfud MD, not being a PDIP cadre, may still choose to resign independently. Mahfud’s political career, starting without party affiliation, adds complexity to assessing his alignment with PDIP’s decisions.
Potential Consequences and Electability
Turbulence and Distrust
Senior PDIP politician Andreas Hugo Pareira cautioned against ministerial resignations, warning of potential “turbulence and distrust of the government” that could arise if PDIP ministers step down.
Prabowo-Gibran Camp Influence
Indonesian Political Indicators researcher Adam Kamil suggests that vacant ministerial positions may be filled by figures from the Prabowo-Gibran camp, potentially influencing government policies.
PDIP’s electability, as per a January 2024 survey, is at 20.3%, leading over the Gerindra Party. While there’s a slight decline, PDIP’s strong vote base remains intact.
Impact on Candidate Pair Electability
Devi Darmawan anticipates that Mahfud’s resignation, coupled with Prabowo remaining as Minister of Defense, could impact candidate pair electabilities. This dynamic could favor candidate pair 03 and adversely affect candidate pair 02.
Response and Motives
Viva Yoga Mauladi, spokesperson director of the Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka National Campaign Team, questions Mahfud MD’s motives and asserts that the decision’s timing won’t significantly affect Prabowo-Gibran’s electability.
Megawati’s Alleged Concerns
PDIP politician Andreas Hugo dismisses allegations that Megawati fears replacement from the Prabowo-Gibran camp, emphasizing Megawati’s resilience in the face of opposition during the Soeharto era.