The Campaign Messages
The uncertainty of 1988 was unlike any other election before, it evolved into the most rugged, yet quite pathetic. Began with the assassination of the Premier in August 1986, the labour issue that lingered throughout 1987, PPP’s internal conflicts nearing 1988 and the lingering fate of SEATO and Spratly League. In contrast to the era of Nasution and Sukarno (most of them being deliberate constants in growth), Subandrio’s has been the drastic ups, then the abrupt downs. The downs were the most evident in this decade, but the ups should not be neglected as so. One of them was the strange economic uptick at the beginning of 1988.
As the presidential campaigns of both candidates began in January 1988, establishment General Susilo received the positive boost it needed because of the surprising economic return from the last quarter’s report. The labour dispute has dissipated mostly during that time, bringing productivity higher than pre-crisis levels, enhancing the economy once more with astonishing 7.5% growth in capital. Most of the workers have settled old wounds with industrial owners, finalising the malaise of 1987. It garnered a mixed response from the incumbent PPP. Barisan Progresif was disgruntled with the populist’s flattering contribution to the Indonesian economy, hence their popularity decreased in the national vote. Contrary to the popular belief, Kesejahteraan Rakyat also suffered uneasiness, as the healing economy tarnished any chance of Bumiputera policies enacted, again dispirited hardcore populists like Mahathir Mohammad. Fortunately, this gift can’t be more specifically aimed at General Susilo Sudarman, the Subandrio-ist successor.
General Susilo Sudarman, 1988
Other factors that cause this growth may be foreigners’ confidence, especially with Indochina War nearing its end, and Japan’s continuous economic growth. The issues in the United States, Wars in Pakistan, and Africa also Europe’s serendipity did little mark on the Asia-Pacific economy. Moreover, with Indonesia as the most appropriate choice for Japanese importers (considering all options lack economic power), Indonesia was again the exclusive beneficiary of Japan’s economic miracle. International events may also be involved in this strange phenomenon. The Suez Canal access to the Europeans has been rather safe for commerce, as opposed to previous hostilities from the Israeli exodus. Consequently, European trading has had a steady increase over the last year, improving Indonesia’s trading opportunities abroad.
Daihatsu factory in Bekasi, one of the largest employers in Jakarta Greater Region'
The apparent campaign message for General Susilo Sudarman, despite protests within Kesejahteraan Rakyat, was the continuation of Subandrio’s balance between meeting the economic demands of industrial growth as well as fulfilling the needs of working-class Indonesians. He expressed this balance with a concept of a ‘dual system’, one that pioneered Sudarman’s core campaign policies. He believed cities and rural can be mutual on each other while retaining their unique attributes. This disparity may be contextualized by uneven fiscal policy, different electoral systems, or custom education curriculums. His “One Country Two System”  policy gathered moderates en masse, especially in comparison to Guntur’s policy. Listening to Subandrio and moderate PPP politicians, he abstained himself from public view to let the economy rebound his popularity. His social stances softened towards Barisan Progresif, announcing similar rhetoric of avoiding Bumiputera policies while emphasizing diversity as a strength. Again, this non-conformist campaign resonated with many of Sudarman’s campaigns, as proven by his advocacy speeches of the current system.
General Susilo Sudarman was in a dilemma as he opposed Japan’s remarkable leverage in Indonesia but realized the importance of Japan in Indonesia’s current growth. Barisan Kesejahteraan also demanded more independence from Japan, diversifying imports to the United States or Europe. Nevertheless, the general relinquished his old prejudice, and thus embraced Japan as Indonesia’s most valuable partner. He charmed moderates of the PPP who enjoyed all that is, while diehard Barisan Progresif and Kesejahteraan Rakyat expressed discontent. In the end, his foreign promises were those Subandrio wished to continue, plans like reviving the Asia-African spirit, improving Third World standing and Politik bebas aktif. In the end, Sudarman opted for minimal fresh ideas, and let Subandrio-ism take the mantle.
The lack of freshness in Sudarman’s policy gave mileage for Guntur to adopt more revolutionary ones, for better or worse. As many of Sudarman policies were, at most, a “moderate” version of Guntur’s, his campaigners thought banking on radical versions may invigorate the PPI base. Therefore, albeit Guntur was advocating similar policies to the general, he gained the upper hand with sound reforms to the PPP. Guntur’s supporters have started calling Sudarman a “status-quo bootlicker”, a slander used to dissuade independents. This had also led liberal hardcore PPI factions, Barisan Progresif, to bank slightly in favour of the Proclamator’s son. This, in return, made the 1988 election a pathetic choice of candidates for the general populace would choose either the pragmatic or the radical, with policies more or less identical.
Guntur and Mega during a fundraising event, 1987
His most publicized policy is universal basic healthcare for all Indonesians. He wished the government to subsidize basic healthcare programs, such as subsidized medicine for the poor, subsidized doctor visits for the elderly above 65, with better public health insurance to cover everyone. Yet, to appease the liberals, he advocated a slight “ranked” insurance level, providing more wealthy Indonesians with better healthcare options. It would increase the health budget by almost 156%, therefore Sudarman attacked Guntur for risking the national budget. Guntur insisted, even countering Sudarman’s attacks with his mediocrity on every policy.
The PPI, to attract the PNI-R base, supported a national increase in the federal defense, decrying the need for Indonesia’s armed forces on such vast territories of Indonesia. Piracy in Madagascar, albeit manageable, has been Guntur’s main concern about Indonesia’s standing. He stated while Indonesia will withstand current raids, the government’s inaction would encourage those pirates for further opportunities. He also pointed out that the Chagos Archipelago, former British Indian Ocean Territory, may be further extended as an Indonesian base between the proper mainland and Madagascar. While Sudarman interjected such an offer, believing the current state of world affairs was not as urgent for Indonesia’s expanded armed forces, Guntur immediately launched an attack claiming Sudarman was dependent on American forces.
Guntur’s other policy, his base’s red meat, was the organization of labour unions in Indonesia. He emphasized all developed nations were birthed from a strong union , so Indonesia should own as well. Guntur applauded the labour efforts on compromising with the Premier for the 1987 Labour Law. The appeal did damage a little for the progressive voters because of the trauma from previous pro-labour demonstrations. Guntur, already aware of the backlash, defended his ideals towards the liberals, claiming labour unions in the US, France and Germany were paramount for the nation’s greatness. He further strengthened his argument, claiming labour unions would benefit every Indonesian rising from critical poverty, and elevate to “middle class” (although the PPI refrain from using the term of its toxicity on communist supporters).
PPI propaganda translated "100% Merdeka" as "100% Labour Unions", might not be so in retrospect or from the illustration alone.
Guntur’s foreign policy take a progressive turn as he pushed for a more diplomatically active Indonesia. Indonesia under his presidency will be inspirational, like how Sukarno’s charisma flowed globally from his speeches during foreign visits and the annual UN congress. He remained a staunch advocate for NAM’s revival, although he downplayed the ‘non-aligned’ ideologue in contrast to Sudarman. Contrary to popular belief, his main objective was the revival of the Spratley League and SEATO, claiming these organizations as Indonesia’s major dominance apparatus . Although South Vietnam was turning the tide, Guntur attacked Subandrio and Sudarman for their refusal on aiding a close ally, giving even the hardcore communists within PPI significant criticism.
Overall, both candidates seemed to present a similar approach to policies, opinions, and approaches in almost all domestic policies. The stark difference in foreign policy, meanwhile, did possess a significant distinction between the two candidates. For Indonesians, one was too careful and pragmatic, the other radical and vigorous. The lack of direction in Sudarman gave PPP a chance for a broad coalition of moderates, while Guntur gave a significant boost to PPI’s vote, as well as appeals to certain aspects of the political spectrum.
Legislative Election would happen on Wednesday, 6 April 1988. Before that, the multi-party system of the legislative body opened new chances of a coalition, break, or bond, before the new 1988 government truly take place. Although previous projections of coalition bonds may shape public perspective on each party, the year surprised all expectations when all hell breaks loose with various parties expressing unforeseen friendships, rivalries, and even opposition. However, if one takes a closer look at their campaign policies, it was not impulsive as one may see.
The first surprise was how Guntur appealed to the PNI-R’s Ali Sadikin into a close relationship. The close bond emerged from Old Party’s ruthless opposition to PPP’s populist party after Bumiputera policy as a new campaign promise. With PNI-R’s civic nationalism, many politicians admitted Guntur to be more politically aligned rather than General Sudarman. Moreover, the PPI’s no monarchist appeal harnessed more love from Nusantara Faction. Guntur never expressed any disdain for incumbent monarchs, but Guntur’s idealism invoked the spirit within Nusantara supporters, the vigour that was lost after Nasution’s absence.
PUI, the party that Guntur sought in 1983, was not fond of PPI anymore in 1988. Gus Dur and Amien Rais may have invoked opposition against Bumiputera, but Sudarman’s moderate stance has appealed ulemas back against Guntur. Indeed, Guntur has assured the public that Islam will continue as a fundamental aspect of Indonesians, but his intention of separating church and state may dissuade religious supporters against him. Between a rock and a hard place, the PUI betrayed the planned PPI-PUI Coalition by Sudarman, forming the new Teruskan Coalition in early January 1988. In a public declaration, Amien emphasized PPP’s willingness to advocate Indonesia’s Islamism model as part of the candidate’s policies, a negotiation done between Amien, Gusdur, and Mahathir Mohammad.
There is one new party entering the race, Partai Majelis Persatuan Muslimin, an Islamist party that originated in Depok, Pasundan State. Ustadz Abdul Ghafar from Depok has assumed leadership as the only party that emerged victorious with strict party regulations under the Indonesian federal constitution. However, his ideas fell flat on his constituents of Pasundan State, but a surprising enthusiasm arrived from Aceh, where hardcore Aceh Islamists were against NU and Muhammadiyah, and wished for a new branch of Islamic ideology in Indonesia.
Another intriguing turn of events was the changing leadership in Barisan Koalisi Daerah Timur. Lawrence G. Rawl, an American conglomerate in Timika , assumed great influence in the party’s leadership, ousting former Maluku secessionists from the high command. BKDT changed their policies, from advocating East provinces’ rights to extremely pro-liberal policies which Rawl has matured in. As this was a definite target for American growing immigrants across Papua, BKDT was, in one perspective, ousted by foreigners. The disappointed core Maluku supporters of BKDT fled for the remainder of the federal parties, but Tutut’s opportunist outlook may gather the upper hand on the residents. Politically, the new BKDT would align more towards progressive PPP, but they remained distant on joining the Teruskan Coalition.
Until the legislative election, Teruskan Coalition was the only coalition formally established as a political pact in the 1988 election. The potential of a competing coalition involving PNI-R and PPI was likely but went nowhere before the election ended. Partai Aliansi Melanesia, a regional Melanesian party in the Solomon Islands, have a significant boost from the Tragedy of Poroporo. Polls indicate PPP’s decline from the political turmoil in 1986 and 1987, while PPI and PUI were the biggest victories.
The Legislative Election
The results came as expected from poll analysts, without LKY and Subandrio, the PPP voters on Java fled to PPI. PNI-R, an interesting anomaly, managed to hold on with little loss, rather than PRD’s downfall from 83 seats to 36 allocated seats. The shift came from PRD’s policy aimed at specific promises, like ending forest fires in Eastern Sumatra, pro-Javanese immigration in Lampung and former BKDT’s Maluku base migration. In other areas that were Suharto stronghold, either moved to PNI-R or PPI. PUI was the biggest winner in this election and managed to double in size from religious folks in various states of Indonesia rallying for the party notably in Banjar, Jombang and Minang. PPI swept clean Java’s Northern coasts from Serang to Semarang, except for the Jakarta region PPP.
Although the BKDT, MAP (Melanesia) and PMPM (Islamists) did not receive 5% of the popular vote to get a seat in the Parliament, these parties manage to gather a deal with major parties (PPP, PNI-R and PUI respectively) to put their representative affiliation as these major parties first, before eventually registered themselves as their party. This tactic, known as "Nebeng-ism"
has sprouted and flourished since 1988. Promises to the big party, like siding in legislation and others had happened so these candidates can proceed. Also, these small-party candidates have been very popular in their respective counties (Stanley Ann Dunham in North Papua as an example), so not giving them seats may give respective regional voters spite to main parties, eventually opposing them.
People's Representative Council of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Indonesia)
Melanesian Alliance Party (Partai Aliansi Melanesia) - 8 seats - 1.44%
Partai Nasional Indonesia - Raya (National Party of [Greater] Indonesia) - 56 seats - 10.09%
Partai Pekerja Indonesia (Indonesian Worker's Party) - 127 seats - 22.88%
- Fraksi Nasionalis (Nationalist Faction) - 8 seats
- Fraksi Nusantara (Ali-Suryadino Faction) - 48 seats
Barisan Koalisi Daerah Timur (Eastern Coalition Front) - 12 seats - 2.16%
Partai Rakyat Demokratik (People's Democratic Party) - 36 seats - 6.49%
Partai Umat Islam (Islam People's Party) - 68 seats - 12.25%
Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (Progressive Union Party) - 247 seats - 44.50%
- Fraksi NU (NU Faction) - 39 seats
- Fraksi Muhammadiyah (Amien Faction) - 29 seats
Partai Majelis Persatuan Muslimin (Assembly of United Muslims Party) - 1 seat - 0.18%
- Fraksi Hatta (Hatta Faction) - 2 seats
- Fraksi Kesejahteraan Rakyat (MelayuFaction) - 121 seats
- Fraksi Barisan Progresif (Malacca Faction) - 108 seats
- Fraksi Madagascar (Madagascar Faction) - 16 seats
People's Regional Council of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah Indonesia)
Melanesian Alliance Party (Partai Aliansi Melanesia) - 3 seats - 2.63%
Partai Nasional Indonesia - Raya (National Party of [Greater] Indonesia) - 17 seats - 14.91%
Partai Pekerja Indonesia (Indonesian Worker's Party) - 22 seats - 19.30%
- Fraksi Nasionalis (Nationalist Faction) - 7 seats
- Fraksi Nusantara (Ali-Suryadino Faction) - 10 seats
Barisan Koalisi Daerah Timur (Eastern Coalition Front) - 3 seats - 2.63%
Partai Rakyat Demokratik (People's Democratic Party) - 9 seats - 7.89%
Partai Umat Islam (Islam People's Party) - 15 seats - 13.18%
Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (Progressive Union Party) - 45 seats - 39.47%
- Fraksi NU (NU Faction) - 10 seats
- Fraksi Muhammadiyah (Amien Faction) - 5 seats
- Fraksi Hatta (Hatta Faction) - 1 seats
- Fraksi Kesejahteraan Rakyat (MelayuFaction) - 22 seats
- Fraksi Barisan Progresif (Malacca Faction) - 15 seats
- Fraksi Madagascar (Madagascar Faction) - 7 seats
 Similar to the China model, or the Shenzhen SEZ model, Nasution almost made that system in his presidency
 Guntur attempted to mimic Carter's healthcare policy, the golden egg for his hardcore PPI supporter and also possibly PPP's liberals.
 Different ideology, different propaganda, yet same purpose. Guntur will tell communist sympathizers unions in the Soviets or France as examples, while he would say the liberals that unions as in New Deal US labour Unions. Despite these unions may refer to opposite systems, the message stays similar.
 Australian Aggression Sukarno, where the proclamator bank to US-leaning.
 PPI was pissed, but nothing can be used as an attack as the coalition promise came from verbal promises, not written contracts.
 OTL Exxon CEO in the 90s
BIG explanation to give.
The old me gave general guidelines on each Indonesian era, giving a strict path. I felt this has been bland after a month's hiatus, so I spice things up (Sudarman's candidacy as one). However, I realised too that the past-me method can obstruct my creativity, it gave me a sense of dread and confusion, and thus no paragraphs were written. I was almost at loss about this TL, almost unable to continue (laziness might be one, but the most crucial was the indecisiveness within me because I thought so many have to change). Nevertheless, I promised myself, so I need solutions fast. I eventually take a break (looking at other TL inspirations, both here and SV, found many luckily). I also looked at a few papers regarding Indonesian history. But the best turn of events came from an initiative to build up other parts of this TL, most notably ATL USA. I recalculated the EV (very fun actually), constructing TL-wise until 2024 (long, but also reinvigorating me in a way) and eventually gave broad guidelines so future me might detail it further. I ended up finishing this post just this morning, finally returning a willingness to move on. I have considered that, although this TL should be Indonesia-centered, the world is never centred around Indonesia, but can be so among major players on the global stage. This time, I used the US as the "constant" of world trends, giving me a sense of direction in Indonesia while maintaining the fluidity of Indonesian politics. This may contribute to my unusual interest in US politics, but basically, it makes room for TL construction.
A long story short, I have summarized US events all until 2024 (Big Events, Presidents*, even factions in power), way enough room for world-building. I freed myself to give any future Indonesian events to let me just go with the flow. Fortunately for you guys, I am prepared to unleash more lore.
Alright, enough with the little introspection. Legislative elections are over, next is Presidential debates, the new Parliament, and all of its political shenanigans.
See you next week.
That big excel at the bottom has all the vote percentage of each US presidential election until 2024. I made this final, and I will unravel this one by one. (1988 one probably next two parts)
*Don't worry, my promise that there would only be one more OTL US president in TTL US President still holds true. Actually, I may have given the hint far before in one post, try looking for it