JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD said the government remains to recognize Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) as the legitimate leader of the Democratic Party, one of the opposition parties in the country.
Mahfud's remark came after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's chief of staff Moeldoko was appointed chairman of the opposition party in an extraordinary congress which was described as illegal and unconstitutional according to some critics.
"The official executive committee that has been recognized by the government until now is the one [led by] AHY, the son of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [Jokowi's predecessor]," said Mahfud on Saturday, March 6.
Mahfud said, however, the government could not prevent the extraordinary congress from happening. The meeting, which was claimed to replace AHY, was held by the anti-AHY camp in North Sumatera's Deli Serdang on Friday at around 3 pm.
He added that in the government's view, the extraordinary congress held by the anti-AHY camp was merely a get-together event attended by the Democratic Party cadres. Therefore, the government could not interfere with the event based on Law No. 9/1998 on freedom of expression.
"The law mentions that it is allowed to organize a general meeting as long as it meets certain requirements such as the event will not be held at the State Palace," said Mahfud.
He went on to say that the government could not certify the legitimacy of the extraordinary congress against AHY because the government has yet received any report.
Therefore, he said, without an official complaint about the event, the extraordinary congress has no legal issues.
The Jakarta Post previously reported that the internal conflict in the Democratic Party was made public early last month when party chairman AHY accused an unnamed State Palace official of complicity in a deliberate attempt to remove him from the party leadership.
Several senior members of the Democratic Party were then expelled for their alleged involvement in an "attempted coup."
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