Partai SRI gains legal party status

Reformasi Weekly
01 April 2012

photo by Rumiatun

excerpts from 'Reformasi Weely Review by Kevin O'Rourke 

The 2011 Political Party Law requires election participants to be legal party entities, which parties must obtain by demonstrating a nationwide network of branches and personnel. A subsequent Constitutional Court ruling benefited parties that had attained this legal recognition from the Law Ministry in the 2009 election (when the requisite criteria for the status was far more lenient): the ruling affirmed that such parties will retain the status for the 2014 election, without having to undergo verification by the Law Ministry. Thus, only newly created parties must undergo verification. When Partai Sri attempted to do so last year, the party failed, but this week the law minister affirmed that Partai Sri has acquired legal entity status by merging with the pre-existing PDRP. 

The chair of Partai Sri, Damianus Taufan, declared that Partai Sri has been facing obstacles and resistance: “We are aware that there is harassment (gangguan). From the time the party first formed, many instances of harassment have occurred, unlike for other parties.”

The plan for Partai Sri to merge with an existing party first surfaced in an announcement made last January by a senior party figure, Wimar Witoelar, a Soeharto-era pro-democracy activist who served as a spokesperson for President Abdurrahman Wahid. Witoelar claimed that Partai Sri possesses ample branch networks and volunteers throughout the country, but that prejudice by Law Ministry officials prevented the party from attaining recognition as a legal party entity in last year’s verification process.

The inclusion of Partai Sri in the election would add a much-needed element of diversity to the array of choices available to voters. National surveys show a high level of disenchantment with all nine incumbent parties, which is presumably due to the incessant corruption scandals that have plagued parliament and the administration.

Although Partai Sri professes to nominate Indrawati for president, Indrawati has not yet publicly associated herself with the party or sanctioned the endeavor. In a recent international press interview, Indrawati underscored her desire to continue performing her World Bank duties

Partai Sri has noteworthy strengths as well as glaring weaknesses. The party’s strength is its ability to make credible claims about being able to govern with integrity and combat corruption. The party’s symbol is a traditional straw broom – evoking its intention to sweep away dirt – and it extols the example set by Indrawati as finance minister, who was the most accomplished clean governance reformer of the Yudhoyono era. The party delivers powerful messages regarding bureaucratic reform, campaign finance reform, and the emphasis of personal integrity in selecting party leaders and government officials. The party can point to Indrawati’s distinguished track record for re-orienting budget spending away from items that benefited elite special interests (such as civil servants and politically connected contractors) and towards public services that directly reached the general public (such as school assistance, health insurance for the power, and community empowerment projects).

However, the weaknesses of Partai Sri are Indrawati’s low profile and aloof stance. As a US-trained economist whose parents were university professors, Indrawati lacks a populist touch that resonates with grassroots voters. As minister, she generally refrained from advertising her reforms, and therefore the public is largely unfamiliar with her efforts and accomplishments. Most importantly, entrenched political interests, led by Golkar, contrived corruption allegations about the 2008 Bank Century takeover authorized by Indrawati and her ally, Vice President Boediono. Subsequent investigations by three independent agencies have proven that the political interests fabricated the charges against Indrawati, but there has been too little public clarification about the matter. Consequently, confusion persists and a taint still affects Indrawati and, by association, Partai SRI.

Were Indrawati to return to Indonesia and commence campaigning intensively, an opportunity exists for her to build awareness and generate voter enthusiasm about Partai Sri. Credibility and inspirational messages can more than compensate for a lack of financing, as the party could mobilize volunteers and generate publicity by debating policy issues. In 2004, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono elevated his virtually unknown party into prominence within the space

BOTTOM LINE: Details of the Legislative Election Bill, due for passage by 13 April, will determine prospects for representation and the quality of the next election.

of the three months prior to election day. This time, however, stricter eligibility criteria apply, necessitating an earlier start.
BOTTOM LINE: The potential qualification of Partai Sri could provide sorely needed diversity in the 2014 election, but the party must dramatically ramp up its publicity efforts.BOTTOM LINE: The potential qualification of Partai Sri could provide sorely needed diversity in the 2014 election, but the party must dramatically ramp up its publicity efforts.


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  1. From SUMARTO on 03 August 2012 13:03:40 WIB
    saya mau menjadi anggota partai SRI

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