“Indonesia’s political system is a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system, but where the greatest initiative lies with the president as head of government. On the one hand, nobody can stand as a presidential candidate without at least a quarter of the parliament supporting his nomination; without serious party support, contenders are left high and dry. On the other hand, it is the government, headed by the president, which has the resources to bring legislation easily to the parliament. As a figure wielding executive power, and with a cabinet of his own appointees, the president dominates, despite the accountability to parliament.
Political parties are therefore formed as or crafted into vehicles for personalities with presidential ambitions. The PDIP was initially a vehicle for Megawati Sukarnoputri and then later the host for Joko Widodo. The Democrat Party (PD) was formed specifically to be a vehicle for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s campaign for the presidency, and is now clearly a vehicle for his son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono. Even a recent splinter from the Democrat is being projected as a vehicle for another ambitious political figure, ex-General Moeldoko, currently Presidential Chief of Staff—for the moment. The Gerindra Party was formed as the vehicle for the presidential ambitions of Prabowo Subianto.”
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