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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08JAKARTA2004 2008-10-30 10:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
Cable title:  

INDONESIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES IMPORTANT

Tags:   PGOV KDEM ID 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002004 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES IMPORTANT
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BILL

REF: JAKARTA 1995 AND PREVIOUS

JAKARTA 00002004 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: The Indonesian Parliament (DPR) passed on
October 30 a key presidential election bill for the 2009
elections. The bill concerned the minimum threshold for the
nomination of a presidential candidate based on the results
of the April 2009 legislative elections.



2. (C) SUMMARY (Con'd): The passage of the bill was a
victory for big parties Golkar and the Indonesia Democratic
Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Smaller parties opposed the
measure, feeling that it will be tougher for them to nominate
a candidate. The legislation is likely to result in only
three candidates for president. The bill puts some pressure
on President Yudhoyono and his party, which is relatively
small, to work hard for allies in order to nominate him. END
SUMMARY.

A BILL IS PASSED



3. (C) Much heated debate and media attention centered
recently on the fate of a presidential bill which would
stipulate the minimum required threshold for the nomination
of a presidential candidate. The DPR was poised to vote on
the contentious and unresolved issue in a plenary session on
October 30 but the ten Parliamentary factions came to a last
minute agreement in a committee meeting late the night before
the vote, thus avoiding a potentially divisive session. The
final bill stipulated that in order to nominate a
presidential candidate, a party or coalition of parties must
win 20 percent of the House seats or 25 percent of the
national vote in the upcoming legislative elections. The
President still needs to sign the bill, but has indicated
that he will do so.

THE POWER PLAY--GOLIATH WON



4. (SBU) At the core of the debate was the issue of power
sharing. Party behemoths Golkar and PDI-P wanted a 30
percent minimum threshold of the national vote so that they
would not have to share as much power with smaller parties.
Parties such as the National Mandate Party (PAN) and
President Yudhoyono's Democratic Party (PD) (which only won 7
percent of the national vote in the 2004 elections and
currently holds 10 percent of the House seats) wanted the
threshold to be 15 percent so that they would have a fighting
chance to field their own presidential candidates without
scrambling to join a coalition.

A PROBLEM FOR THE PRESIDENT?



5. (C) According to Mission sources, the decision on a
relatively high national voting threshold of 25 percent or 20
percent of House seats will likely have the greatest impact
on President Yudhoyono's run for the presidency. His party,
Democrat Party (PD), is small and he is highly dependent on
his coalition partners. Analysts and Mission sources point
to this as a sign of weakness which is reflected in his
choice of some Cabinet members who are party representatives
rather than professionals.



6. (C) Pol/C and poloff met October 30 with Yuddy
Chrisnandi, an MP who has been officially announced as one of
Golkar's ten possible presidential candidates should they
decide to nominate one. Chrisnandi told us that the
compromise on the bill was only reached after Vice President
Kalla assured President Yudhoyono that he would have Golkar's
continued support to reach the 25 percent threshold. This
bill may thus force Yudhoyono to rely on Golkar, the largest
party, as a coalition partner in his quest for nomination.

JAKARTA 00002004 002.2 OF 002


He has already indicated that he may run again with Vice
President and Golkar Chair Kalla but may run into trouble if
Golkar decides to nominate its own presidential candidate.
Yudhoyono would then be forced to cobble together a fractious
coalition of smaller parties to meet the threshhold.



7. (C) Golkar, the dominant party in the Suharto era, now
seems to have the political advantage again. On the other
hand, Golkar at this point has no strong candidates so also
depends on Yudhoyono to maintain its share of power.

A SMALL POOL



8. (C) The new bill also seems to narrow the presidential
field significantly, restricting it realistically to those
who can get sufficient support to meet the required
threshold. Unlike 2004, there is likely to be only three
candidates: Yudhoyono; former president Megawati; and, one
other candidate from among the basket containing the Sultan
of Yogyakarta Hamengkubuwono X; retired General Wiranto,
Hanura Party; or retired General Prabowo, Gerindera Party.
With this contentious issue behind them, the Indonesian
public can now focus on the eagerly awaited April 2009
legislative elections which will determine the final playing
field for the presidential race.

HUME