... PDIP needs a solid guard in ideology and performance."
Semarang, Central Java (ANTARA News) - Megawati Soekarnoputri could not fight back the tears. She was deeply touched and at the same time surprised.

All regional leaders of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) asked her to keep her position at the helm of the party until 2020.

The request was conveyed by chairman of the Central Java branch of PDIP Heru Sudjatmoko on behalf of 32 regional leaders of the party.

The proposal was put forward directly in front of Megawati herself and president elect Joko Widodo and 1,590 participants of the party National Working Meeting in this Central Java capital on Saturday.

The atmosphere at the Marina Convention Center, Semarang, that morning became livelier. Hand clapping was followed with thunderous yells "Merdeka (Freedom), Merdeka, Merdeka".

It was not in the agenda of the National Working Meeting, which was to focus on discussing the change of position of the party.

PDIP will become a ruling party after a decade taking the position as an opposition party.

Partys cadre Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi) won the presidential election on July 9 with his running mate Jusuf Kalla, a seasoned politician.

The meeting, which was to last until Sunday afternoon, ended officially on Saturday evening as all regional leader shared the same view as spoken out by the chairman of the Central Java branch of the party.

"After the victory in the legislative and presidential elections, PDIP needs a solid guard in ideology and performance," Sirmadji Tjondropragolo, chairman of the East Java branch of PDIP said.

Chairman of the partys Papua branch Komarudin Watubun said Megawati is still needed as a leader to keep the party solid.

Solidity of the party is needed especially after the party won the legislative and presidential elections, Komaruddin said.

The victory was inspired by the vision of the country first President Soekarno (Bung Karno), "Trisakti" to create Indonesia self reliant in economy, sovereignty in politics and culture.

"This ideological struggle needs strong resilience. It is not that we did not see rising young cadres, but we need one that could unite all partys components," Komaruddin said.

The recommendation was finally approved as the first decision of the working meeting.

Puan Maharani the partys chairwoman for political affairs and relations of inter institutions, said the National Working Meeting proposed Megawati Soekarnoputri in acclamation to lead PDIP for the next five year 2015-2020.

To guard Jokowi

Megawati, a daughter of President Soekarno would be the longest party leader in the countrys political history with 27 years as general chairwoman.

Megawati has only moderate educational backgrounds. She has only senior high school diploma. She failed to finish her study at the state Bogor Institute of Agriculture. She continued to study psychology at the Indonesian University but she also dropped out.

Despite her moderate educational backgrounds, Megawati proved to have sharp political instinct. She started her political career in 1986 as deputy chairwomen of PDI of Central Jakarta branch. She took only a year to shoot to prominence as a member of the House of Representatives from PDI.

In an extraordinary congress of the party in Surabaya in 1993, Megawati was elected almost without challenge new general chairwoman of the party.

However, President Soeharto did not like the popularity of the daughter of President Soekarno, from who he took the presidency. The Soeharto administration then named Soerjadi new general chairman of PDI at a congress in Medan in 1996 and the government was quick to give its recognition to the Soerjadis PDI.

Megawati, however, refused to be defeated. She and her loyal followers called the Medan congress illegal.

Finally the party was split between PDI under Soerjadi and PDI under Megawati. The government gave its recognition to Soerjadis PDI, but Megawati gained the majority support from the party sympathizers.

At last Megawati proved that she was the legitimate leader of the nationalist party. In the general election after the fall of Soeharto, PDIP, a new name of PDI, led over other contestants. Soerjadis PDI virtually lost everything. The victory, however, placed Megawati only as a vice president under Abdurrahman Wahid. Megawati lost in the presidential election at the Peoples Consultative assembly (MPR).

Later, however, Megawati was named president after Wahid was impeached by the MPR.

In two following presidential elections Megawati lost to the present president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

PDIP then took the position as an opposition party for 10 years before it won the legislative and the presidential election earlier this year. Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is the president elect and M. Jusuf Kalla (JK) his running mate as vice president elect.

Megawati and PDIP was asked to guard the Jokowi-JK administration. Originally the request came from Jokowi himself during the national working meeting in Semarang.

"Jokowi asked Megawati to keep the position as the party general chairwoman," a PDIP leader Andreas Hugo Pareira said, adding Jokowi wants support from the party with strong leadership.

In answer, Megawati reminded Jokowi that she might be too old at 67 years, but finally she accepted.

She said she was surprised when hearing the request and she did not know if the recommendation from the regional leaders of the party was encouraged by Jokowis request.

Regeneration in PDIP

Despite the proposal to keep Megawati at the helm, the party process of regeneration continues in progress, party secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said.

The process of regeneration has produced many good cadres, Tjahjo Kumolo said.

Chairwoman of PDIP faction in the House of Representatives Puan Maharani said the process of regeneration in PDIP has been successful.

"There are many young leaders have been produced in the process," the daughter of Megawati said pointing to Jokowi.

Political observer from the state Gajah Mada University Ari Dwipayana said the decision taken at the national working meeting to keep Megawati leadership has a number of political aspects.

Ari said Megawati is needed to guarantee the party solidity needed when it has change position into a ruling party.

"The party solidity is needed as the administration of Jokowi-JK will face heavy challenges politically especially at the House of Representatives," he said.

In addition the request, that came from Jokowi himself, would negate speculation that he will try to take over as new leader of the party when he took the presidency, he said.

"The party has a big stake in the administration of Jokowi-JK. Even if PDIP has many young good cadres Megawati is still needed as a symbol of solidity, a charismatic leader," he added.

Reporter: Monalisa & Alberth S.
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2014