Jakarta-wapresri.go.id. Political parties play an important role in strengthening democracy for the sake of public welfare.

“We agreed that democracy is not the objective, but it is a way to achieve our objective to create prosperity and to realize public welfare,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla when opening the26th International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Standing Committee Meeting and the 1st Trilateral Meeting Among ICAPP, Conference of Political Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL), and the Council of African Political Parties (CAPP), held at Gedung Nusantara 3 of the parliament building in Jakarta, on Friday (April, 23).

Democracy, the Vice President said, has a universal basis, that is the decision made by the people and for the people and executed in a way that is unique from one country to another.

“That is why democracy (in a country) is not a copy of that in another country, nor it is inherited from big countries which you can completely duplicate,” he said.

Besides, he added, democracy needs a strong basis from political parties as they are the foundation for democracy.

“If we want to achieve our development goals through democracy, political parties need to be strengthened”, he said, adding that political parties should make a synergy to develop the country.

The Vice President also perceived that social media has better developed democracy. This, he said, could be seen in the Arab Spring phenomenon that successfully made use of technology and mass media for the emergence of democracy.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Kalla asked all participants to maintain good relationship for the sake of political stability.

“Without political stability, it is impossible to hold good relationship with other countries or to attain the goals we discussed earlier,” he said.

Previously at the same event, a lawmaker of Golkar Party, who is also a member of the Standing Committe Theo L. Sambuaga stated that Indonesia plays an important role in the existence of ICAPP.

“Indonesia is one of the countries founding ICAPP and has actively participated in the efforts to develop the organization,” he said.

Meanwhile, chairwoman of Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Megawati Soekarno Putri, who was also attending the ceremony, underscored that public welfare must be fought for by any political party in the world.

“I believe that public welfare cannot be realized without political and economic welfare. People would only enjoy their freedom as long as political and economic democracy flourishes in the country,” she said, adding that a political party is also an instrument for the people to fight for equitable public welfare.

In the meantime, chairman of Golkar Party Abu Rizal Bakrie stated that political parties should be able to smartly face the current global challenges so that increased prosperity as they promised in their campaigns can be realized.

International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) is an association of political parties of Asian-Oceanian countries which was launched in Manila in September 2000 to promote information exchanges and cooperation between political parties from different Asian countries and with various ideologies, to enhance mutual understanding and trust among Asian countries, to promote Asia’s regional cooperation through the unique role and channel of political parties, and to realize sustainable peace condition and prosperity in the Asian region.

Similarly, Latin American countries established an association called the Permanent Board of Council of Africa Political Parties of America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL), while African countries founded the Council of Africa Political Parties (CAPP) to hold partnership among political parties in various fields. There are currently 340 political parties from 53 Asian-Oceanian countries which become ICAPP members.

Also attending the event on the theme of “The Role of Political Parties in Enhancing Democracy for the Benefit of the People’s Welfare” were ICAPP Chairman Jose de Venecia Jr., CAPP Secretary General Nafie Ali Nafie, COPPPAL Vice Chairman Francisco Cafiero, Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) speaker Ade Komarudin, Regional Representatives Council (DPD) chairman, representatives of eight fractions in DPR, and representatives of the European political parties as observers.