A political tug-of-war is taking place over the daughter of one of Indonesia’s founding fathers, as two parties offer different versions of just where her loyalties lie.
The Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) of Prabowo Subianto said last week that Halida Hatta, one of its founding members and the daughter of the country’s first vice president, Mohammad Hatta, had resigned because she wanted to get out of politics and focus on business.
But National Democrat (NasDem) chairman Patrice Rio Capella now says that Halida left Gerindra because she was disappointed with the direction of the party, and was considering joining NasDem.
“I have no idea if [Halida is disappointed] because her resignation letter given to us states that she left because of her work,” Gerindra chairman Suhardi said.
Suhardi said Halida submitted her resignation letter during a dinner with him and Prabowo, a party co-founder and chairman of its advisory council.
Halida, he said, never mentioned any disappointment with the party.
According to NasDem, Halida, left Gerindra because of irreconcilable ideological differences with the party
Halida was Gerindra’s lead candidate during the 2009 legislative elections, but her bid failed after Gerindra transferred votes to another legislative candidate. Halida’s relationship with the party reportedly worsened in subsequent years, a claim Gerindra denied.
NasDem was established last year by media mogul Surya Paloh after he lost his bid to chair Golkar to longtime rival Aburizal Bakrie.
Gerindra is putting a brave face on the Halinda controversy and its secretary general, Ahmad Muzani, said Prabowo had come up with a new lineup of the party’s permanent members, which have grown from just 99 to 350.
“There are some members who were promoted, some posts were split among several people and some got demoted,” Muzani said. “Everything was done under the prerogative power of the advisory council chairman [Prabowo].”
The new members, Muzani said, will decide the party’s candidate for the 2014 presidential election as well and elect members to the party’s central leadership board.
Muzani confirmed that the lineup does not include Fami Fachruddin, who until recently was the party’s science and technology division head. Fami has gone to the press with claims that he was dismissed for criticizing Prabowo.
“[Prabowo] has his own subjective and objective reasons for appointing or dismissing anyone,” Muzani said.