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28-02-2014
Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part I)
Author : Hendrajit, Executive Director of the Global Future Institute (GFI)

Two months ahead of the April 2014 legislative elections, inter-factional fighting in eliciting the candidates through a political party seems increasingly heated. Until now, Prabowo Subianto has been the only hopeful announcing his intention to run for president in the presidential election next June through The Grat Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra). Even Aburizal Bakrie, though he has served as Chairman of the Golkar Party, the internal dynamics of the party bearing the banyan tree has still been difficult to predict because any time it could bring another figure that is seen as more likely to succeed in the upcoming presidential election.


While Hatta Rajasa, Chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), although officially and already declared himself to run for president with the support of his party, his real strategic agenda is to become a vice president accompanying presidential candidate that has high electability in the eyes of voters and is in line with his party's political program.
 
Nonetheless, the Prabowo's chance to be president is highly dependent on his coalition with other parties. Although the Gerindra's acquisition is expected to increase its percentage of vote in the 2014 legislative elections, given the three major parties predicted the winner of the election will only be able to gain between 20 to 22 percent of the vote, it seems difficult for Prabowo if not from the outset establishing strategic alliances with such parties as the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP) and the National Awakening Party (PKB).
 
Based on the GFI's observations and information from several sources close to Hatta Rajasa, the Chairman of the PAN has two options: Being vice president to accompany Jokowi for being based on high electability of the Governor of Jakarta, and the second is being vice president to accompany Prabowo.
 
Related to his certainty to invite Jokowi duet in the presidential election, Hatta Rajasa and his success team were riddled with a big question mark, given the fact that until now Megawati as the Chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the sole determinant of the decision who will be nominated by the PDIP as a presidential candidate, has not given any sign to support the presidential candidacy of Jokowi as through PDIP.
 
Meanwhile, from the Prabowo's camp there seems a strong desire to create the preconditions to the PAN-GERINDRA strategic alliance by nominating Prabowo - Hatta in the presidential election.
 
However, both options are still difficult to realize at this time, because there have still been real battles behind the scenes between conglomeration powers involving some military factions in it.
 
Strong Influence of the 1970 Military Academy faction in the 2014 presidential election
 
Some military factions who object to the Prabowo's candidacy is generally driven by several generals graduating from the Indonesian Armed Forces Academy (AKABRI) 1970 whose derivatives are in some general military academy in 1972, some of 1973 and 1974.
 
As we know, although Prabowo was the 1974 military academy graduate, factionally, the son of prominent economist Soemitro Djojohadikusomo was in the orbit of the military academy in 1973 which also included SBY, as he failed in the next grade year. Former Army Chief of Staff Ryamizard Ryacudu for example, although he was the 1973 academy graduate along with SBY, factionally he was in the orbit of the 1972 military academy  because he was supposed to graduate in 1972.
 
Thus despite the hierarchy and chain of command, SBY as president and supreme commander of the military chain of command is in full control of the military, but military factions with different aspirations, continue to play an important role related to a retired general who is presumably appropriate and representative to appear as a presidential candidate.
 
At this point, various interets attached to the various generals of the various factions will in turn encourage the retired military generals to take the political maneuvering behind the scenes.
 
Of the 1970 military academy faction which significantly come into play in the 2014 election political maneuver are, among others, Luhut Panjaitan, Subagyo HS (former Chief of Staff), Johny Lumintang Josephus, Fachrur Razi, Tyasno Sudarto (former Chief of Staff), and Agus Widjojo (former Chief of Staff of the Military Territory). While the Navy is represented by Bernard Kent Sondakh. But politically, the 1970 military academy faction of the army is that must be taken into account.
 
On account of the strong Influence in such a way as military faction, on October 2, 2012, the 1970 AMN alumni launched a book that tells about the experience of the 1970 military academy. The 1970 academy class was the first generation where education army, air and sea cadets as well as the police were put together. No wonder if the 1970 academy alumni, in particular from the army, felt very superior and dominant.
 
President SBY is also taking into account the power and influence of the 1970 military academy alumni, so that he took the time to attend the book launch held at Balai Kartini, Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto, Jakarta.
 
Indications that the 1970 military academy alumni since last year have undertaken political maneuver as a pressure group. All this could be seen when on March 13, 2013, the 1970 alumni met the president. Among the 7 generals meeting with SBY from he 1970 alumni were Luhut Panjaitan, Subagyo HS, Johny Lumintang, Fahrul Rozi and Agus Wijoyo.
 
From the 1970 military academy that could be categorized pro- SBY in the meeting was just Agus Wijoyo. The rest has been faction aspirationally not supporting the SBY's political line since the beginning. As a proof, when SBY came to power, he then immediately cancelled the appointment letter of Ryamizard Ryacudu as TNI commander that was signed by Megawati when she was in office.
 
Following the 'overthrow' of Ryamizard as TNI commander, then the influence and control of the 1970 military academy camp against the TNI Headquarters in Cilangkap and Army headquarters were broken because in the time the TNI commander was held by Army chief Joko Santoso, who incidentally comes from the 1975 military academy that factionally was the stronghold with the SBY'S military factions.
 
At the same time, along with skyrocketing military career of Pramono Edi Wibowo as Commanding General of the Special Forces Command (Danjen Kopassus) and as Commander of the Army Strategic Reserve (Pangkostrad), practically the hierarchy of command and control range of army was under the control of the 1973 military academy and its juniors that are in one faction.
 
Likewise, the influence of the 1970 military academy alumni with its derivatives to 1972, 1980 and 1982 that are certainly still considered active military officers, seems to be quite influential in shaping the political aspirations at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap.
 
Such concerns are expressed by a source who is close enough to large family breeds of Soemitro Djojohadikusomo related to the resistance against the Prabowo's candidacy in the 2014 presidential election.
 
While the 1973 military academy faction in which Prabowo was actually included in the faction along with SBY, has actually supported Prabowo as presidential hopeful even though in the 2009 election, SBY and Prabowo had to face as he was the running mate of Megawati.
 
Megawati balancing faction between Cilangkap and Cikeas
 
In the midst of stagnation and stalemate related to the appropriate and representative military candidacy, Megawati seems to be a quite important key player at this time. Megawati is not too close to the 1970 military academy faction given the fact that some of the above-mentioned figures were in the time the generals who are very close to former President Suharto.
 
However, to build political communication, Megawati could count Hendropriyono, former Jakarta military commander, and former commander of Kopassus Agum Gumelar. Each was the AMN alumnus in 1967 and 1968. The two were seniors of the 1970 military academy. However, the proximity of Mega with Hendropriyono and Gumelar because in the time they were the pro Benny Murdani generals to build strong ties with Mega and PDIP to fight against Suharto. With hope, Mega could be used as a Trojan horse by the Benny's camp and his military factions that are docked to the PDIP.
 
But the May 1998 riots which led to the fall of Suharto, the military stronghold of Benny and his faction in which one of his political satellites was the 1970 military academy faction did not manage to run the script as planned, because Ginandjar Kartasasmita initiated to withdraw some 14 ministers including himself from the Suharto government, and tended to Vice President Habibie, and supported the Bugis-born son as president, replacing Suharto as transitional president to the June 1999 elections.
 
The shift of power after Suharto to Habibie and Ginandjar Kartasasmita by embracing Wiranto while making himself a military commander, brought implications with the removal of Prabowo from the political constellation since 1998. On the pretext that Prabowo was involved in the abduction of political activists ahead of the 1998 General Session and the May 1998 riots and the emerging opinion that he was involved in the politics of omission so that there was a bloody riot in May 1998.



Related Article
» Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part II)
» Political dynamics in the Indonesian Military (TNI) colors the 2014 presidential election (Part III)



 

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