Gerindra to reconsider remaining in opposition after outcome of presidential election lawsuit rendered

President Joko Widodo (L) and his challenger in the 2019 election Prabowo Subianto hugging pencak silat gold medalist Hanifan Yudani Kusumah after the martial artist’s victory at the 2018 Asian Games. Photo: Instagram/@prabowo
President Joko Widodo (L) and his challenger in the 2019 election Prabowo Subianto hugging pencak silat gold medalist Hanifan Yudani Kusumah after the martial artist’s victory at the 2018 Asian Games. Photo: Instagram/@prabowo

There are no eternal allegiances in politics, and, despite Gerindra’s fervent opposition against the government during and even before President Joko Widodo’s tenure, the party doing a 180 and supporting the government is not at all beyond the realm of possibility.

While other parties in the opposition, particularly the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democrats, have been seen to be having second thoughts about remaining in the coalition after Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto’s defeat in April’s election, Gerindra, which leads the opposition coalition, surprisingly seems to be reconsidering their position as well.

“Until today, we have not decided if Gerindra will remain in the opposition or join the [government] coalition,” Gerindra Central Executive Board (DPP) Head Ahmad Riza Patria told reporters at the House of Parliament (DPR) in Jakarta yesterday, as quoted by Merdeka.

Prabowo and his campaign team have filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court (MK) contesting the outcome of April’s election, which they say was rigged in Jokowi’s favor. MK is expected to deliver a verdict on June 27.

Ahmad said Gerindra will evaluate their position as an opposition party, which they have held for 10 years, after the MK hearing. He also denied rumors that President Jokowi has offered Gerindra a couple of ministerial and key presidential advisory posts in exchange for joining the government coalition, claiming that such an offer would not factor into the party’s decision.

Most legal experts believe that Prabowo has little to no chance of winning his lawsuit, which seeks to overturn President Joko Widodo’s re-election victory with claims of massive and systemic voting fraud. In a devastating dissection of Prabowo’s case, Professor Simon Butt of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, said the failed candidate’s legal team would need “an evidentiary miracle” to avoid losing in court, just as Prabowo lost a similar Constitutional Court case in 2014 after he lost to Jokowi the first time.

The hearing has so far been quite an embarrassment for Prabowo’s campaign, with much of the nation’s focus being on the plaintiff’s comically questionable witnesses, particularly one man who violated a detention order in order to testify for Prabowo in court.

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