Getting ready for a new form of Indonesian government. The omens seem to be pointing to a rather different form of government in Indonesia after this year’s elections with considerable uncertainty about who will replace Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as president. President Yudhoyono, having served two terms, cannot stand again and his Democratic Party is yet to choose a candidate. The Jakarta Post in a page one story this morning noted that the popularity of the Democratic Party had plummeted over the past years due to various graft cases involving its top members and suggested there was now more than a little campaign panic:
Not that the current governing party is the only one with its problems. Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Anis Matta’s decision to go public with his polygamous life does not seem to bode well for the Islamic party’s future in the upcoming election, reports the Post.
A recent series of messages on Twitter posted by PKS deputy secretary-general Fahri Hamzah on Anis’ polygamous life with his second wife Szilvia Fabula has instead further tarnished the party’s image following the beef import graft case that implicated Anis’ predecessor, Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq…
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) political analyst Syamsuddin Haris said Anis’ move had a negative impact on the PKS.
“Even though sharia law recognizes polygamy, it’s not something that can be accepted by many Muslims in the country because they tend to choose monogamous marriage. It will surely reduce the party’s chances of gathering more votes in the election,” Syamsuddin said.
He added this blunder would see those who wanted to vote for an Islamic party shift their support to the United Development Party (PPP), the National Mandate Party (PAN) or the National Awakening Party (PKB).
A survey released last year by the Indonesia Research Center (IRC) put the PKS in seventh position on a list of the most electable political parties. The survey found that the PKS would only receive 2.8 percent of the vote if the legislative election was held at that time, far lower than the 7.99 percent it secured in the 2009 election, making it the fourth largest faction in the House of Representatives.
Moreover, activist Defarina Djohan said polygamy was a barbaric tradition as it occurred before Islam came to the world.
“Arabic men used to marry hundreds of women at that time and then Islam came and reduced that practice by limiting the number to only four wives. The essence here is not only about the figure, but also fairness, because Islam emphasizes justice,” Defarina said.
She also said women were smarter today and they would not support those who practiced polygamy.
“Women comprise 49 percent of total voters, which is a significant portion. In addition to that, not all men support polygamy,” she continued.