Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - An internal rift has rocked the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), with the party's founding member and deputy chairperson Halida Hatta resigning in a move that many consider to be a protest against the strong-willed leadership style of the party's chief patron, Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto.
Halida Hatta, daughter of the Indonesia's first vice president, the late Mohammad Hatta, tendered her resignation in April, which was only confirmed last week.
"I was disappointed with the party's decision to transfer the votes I won in the legislative election to other candidates. I asked for clarification from the party but I never heard anything from them," she told The Jakarta Post yesterday.
Publicly, Hatta said that her reason for quitting was so that she could focus on her day job, a senior public relations officer for a Japan-based gas company.
Hatta also said that recently, she could only contribute a little to the party because on many occasions the party had shut her out of the decision making process.
"I think Gerindra could have done so much better if we'd communicated better among ourselves," Hatta said.
Rumours abound that the party's internal rift was caused by Subianto's so-called strong leadership style, which also may have been apparent in the dismissal of Fami Fachrudin, the party's head of science and technology.
Fachrudin said that there was a deep-seated mistrust among party members with military backgrounds of Gerindra's civilian politicians, and that this had served to deepen rifts within the party.
"The culture of this military group has led to an abuse of power. We must not tolerate such authoritarianism. The leadership of Gerindra must realise that criticism is a common thing in a democracy," Fachrudin said on his Twitter web page on July 5.
Fachrudin's ouster was decided by Subianto, former son-in-law of former president Soeharto, during the party's extraordinary meeting, which took place last March.
Fachrudin is said to be close to a senior figure within Gerindra, the party deputy chairman Fadli Zon, and the former's dismissal was said to be an attack on Zon.
Zon dismissed the speculation, saying that Subianto had the prerogative to fire anybody he wanted.
"There is no such thing. Why bother attacking others while they can attack me directly?" he said.
Zon, however, told the Post that the decision to fire Fachrudin was made without the presence of the party's chairman Suhardi.