New PAN Chairman Must Make Clear What Party Stands For: Analysts
Jakarta. The National Mandate Party (PAN), should strengthen its political appeal under new chairman Zulkifli Hasan and take advantage of the ongoing identity crises that other Indonesian political parties have to deal with, analysts say.
“As the new chairman, Zulkifli should make clear the party’s position, identity, platform, and branding so that PAN can truly become an independent and large party,” Hamdi Muluk, a political communications expert at the University of Indonesia (UI), told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
Hamdi suggested that PAN solidify its support base and stop relying on other parties or political coalitions.
“PAN shouldn’t just be a follower or an insignificant part of the Red and White coalition [KMP],” Hamdi added. “That will destroy PAN.”
At the same time, PAN should clarify its party identity and policy platform to attract more supporters, the analyst suggested.
“It is clear to me that Indonesian political parties are struggling with an identity crisis now. That is a big challenge for Zulkifli even as he puts in more effort to attract outside supporters,” Hamdi said. “One of the measures of a successful party leader is getting his party a high number of votes at elections.”
During the 2014 elections, PAN only got 8.8 percent of the total tally, equivalent to 48 seats in the House of Representatives.
Andar Nubowo, a political analyst from survey and research agency IndoStrategi, said that Zulkifli must improve the relationship between the party and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-biggest Islamic organization, to attract more supporters.
“Muhammadiyah’s supporter base is very important for PAN so I hope Zulkifli can help bridge the two sides,” Andar said. The founding of PAN was an outcome of Muhammadiyah’s 1998 congress.
Andar also noted that Zulkifli must maintain PAN as a political party that accommodates political aspirations from every level of society.
“PAN must rebrand its political orientation from exclusively catering to the middle classes to the lower classes, and from a modern Islam-based party to nationalist groups,” said Andar.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe