AHY’s Graceful Acceptance of Political Changes and the Future of the Democratic Party

Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY), the Chairman of the Democratic Party, has demonstrated magnanimity and resilience in the face of shifting political dynamics leading up to the 2024 presidential election in Indonesia. While initially poised to be the running mate of Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, AHY found himself embracing a different path when Anies decided to team up with Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar, commonly known as Cak Imin, a prominent political figure from the Koalisi Perubahan untuk Persatuan (KPP). This decision prompted the Democratic Party to withdraw its support from Anies and resulted in the party’s departure from the KPP coalition.

The Democratic Party’s recent shift in support mirrors its actions during the 2019 presidential election. At that time, the party’s lukewarm endorsement of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno was seen as a result of AHY not being chosen as Prabowo’s running mate. This strategic ambivalence was a calculated move aimed at safeguarding the party’s electoral interests.

Ujang Komaruddin, a political scientist from Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia, suggests that the Democratic Party’s tendency to exhibit half-hearted support may stem from an incompatibility with other coalition members. It is possible that the party’s approach does not align with the strategies and goals of its coalition partners, prompting it to chart its own course.

Ujang emphasizes that political parties within a coalition must share common interests and approaches for a successful partnership. If these elements are not aligned, it can lead to missteps and strained relationships within the coalition. The Democratic Party’s insistence on AHY being the vice presidential candidate in both 2019 and 2024 may not have been well received by its coalition partners, leading them to distance themselves from the party and AHY.

Arif Nurul Iman, Director of IndoStrategi Research and Consulting, points out that the dynamics of the 2024 presidential election are different from those of previous elections. Unlike previous contests, the Democratic Party now has AHY as a potential presidential candidate, which could influence its approach to supporting other candidates.

Kamhar Lakumani, Deputy Head of the Bappilu DPP of the Democratic Party, refutes claims that the party has been half-hearted in its support for presidential candidates. He asserts that the party has always been dedicated to its election campaigns, whether for legislative or presidential elections. Kamhar highlights the challenges posed by the presidential threshold of 20%, which restricts political parties from fielding their best candidates, distorting the democratic process.

Herzaky Mahendra Putra, Head of Strategic Communication at the Democratic Party, defends the party’s decision to withdraw its support for Anies, citing a perceived betrayal by the Koalisi Perubahan. He argues that Anies initiated and sought AHY as a running mate, not the other way around. According to Herzaky, the party has consistently supported Anies throughout the process.

As Indonesia approaches the 2024 presidential election, the Democratic Party stands at a crossroads. The party is awaiting the decision of its highest council, led by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), regarding its future alliances and presidential endorsements. AHY’s willingness to adapt to changing political circumstances and gracefully accept new opportunities underscores his commitment to democratic processes. The Democratic Party’s journey may have been marked by complexities, but its resilience and dedication to democratic ideals remain unwavering. The road ahead holds both challenges and opportunities, and the party’s choices will shape the future of Indonesian politics.