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PARTAI PERSATUAN PEMBANGUNAN. The only Islamic political party in Indonesia today is the Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (Development Unity Party, abbreviated as Partai Persatuan, PPP, or P3), formed in 1973 through the fusion of the four preexisting Islamic parties: the

traditionalist Partai NU (Nahdatul Ulama Party), the modernist Parmusi (Indonesian Muslim Party), and two other minor parties, the PSII and Perti. The fusion was imposed by the New Order government under General Suharto, who placed utmost priority on economic development, political stability, and national integration. The PPP was prohibited from pursuing an Islamic state as its goal and from using “Islam” or “Muslim” in its name. The government, to secure loyalty, also intervened in the formation of the PPP leadership.

In spite of these constraints the PPP became increasingly militant and confrontational vis-a-vis the government during the 1970s. The government had to withdraw its secular version of the Marriage Law bill in the face of Muslim criticism in 1973. Strong Islamic sentiments were mobilized in the 1977 general elections campaign for the PPP, who used the Ka’bah as their party symbol. A number of charismatic `Ulama’ openly criticized the secularization, corruption, and inequality that the New Order had brought and urged Muslim voting for the PPP as religious obligation. The PPP received 29 percent of the national vote, obtaining the leading position in the capital city of Jakarta. The PPP staged a walkout from the parliament in 1978 in protest of the government promotion of Javanese mysticism over Islam. They maintained almost the same level of popular support (28 percent) in the 1982 general elections.

Alarmed by rising Islamic radicalism, the government instituted a law requiring all social and political organizations to stipulate the state philosophy of Pancasila (Five Pillars) as the sole foundation of their constitutions. The NU complied with this in 1983, followed by the PPP and others. The NU was, however, dissatisfied with the PPP leadership over the allocation of parliamentary seats and decided to withdraw its support from the PPP. In the 1987 general elections, the NU actively engaged in a “deflation campaign” against the PPP; the results showed a drastic reduction in votes for the PPP, which received only 16 percent of the total. The replacement of the Ka’bah with a star as the party symbol also contributed to this demise, symbolizing the fact that its constitution and statutes had become less explicitly Islamic. It received 17 percent of the total votes in the 1992 general elections.

The decline of the PPP’s strength has not, however, meant the departure of Islam from public life. Since the late 1980s. islamization of the bureaucracy has been visible. Now that all Muslim organizations have accepted the Pancasila as their sole foundation, the intensification of religious activities in government offices is no longer under scrutiny. Suharto himself has contributed to this trend by promoting the establishment of mosques all over the country and performing the hajj in 1991. The government party Golkar has also become manifestly Islamic in its orientation. A mainstreaming of Islam is under way. A number of goals previously pursued by the Islamic parties have been achieved without arousing political controversies. This new situation is blurring the distinctiveness of the PPP as an Islamic party, and its raison d’etre is in question.

[See also Indonesia; Nahdatul Ulama. ]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

English literature specifically on the PPP is scarce, but the following items provide basic information:

Haris, Syamsuddin. “PPP and Politics under the New Order.” Prisma (English edition) 49 (June 1990): 31-51. Report by a close observer of the PPP through the 1980s,

Samson, Allan A. “Indonesian Islam since the New Order.” In Political Power and Communications in Indonesia, edited by Karl D. Jackson and Lucian W. Pye, pp. 196-226. Berkeley, 1978. Detailed description of the early phase of the relationship between the New Order government and Islamic parties leading to the formation of the PPP in 1973 and its immediate aftermath.

NAKAMURA MITSUO

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/partai-persatuan-pembangunan/
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  • writerPosted On: June 25, 2017
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