indonesias golkar party faces trouble

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - One of Indonesias major political parties, Golkar Party, is facing a big problem after its general chairman, Setya Novanto, was named a corruption suspect by anti-graft agency KPK.

Novanto, who is also the speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR), has now been put under KPK detention in connection with his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal related to an electronic identification card project of the ministry of home affairs while he was chairman of the partys faction in DPR in 2009-2014.

Political parties in the country are currently busy preparing themselves for elections of regional heads in some regions next year and, more importantly, presidential and legislative elections in 2019.

In view of that, Novantos case could certainly affect Golkar with regard to its electability, and some of the partys senior figures have indeed voiced their concern over it.

Due to this, calls have been made by cadres for the party to immediately hold an extraordinary national meeting to choose Novantos replacement, so that the party could prepare itself well for the elections.

Golkar, in a leadership meeting, has named secretary general Idrus Marham as the partys acting general chairman while waiting for the pretrial courts decision regarding Novantos status.

Novanto has again filed a pretrial regarding his renaming as a suspect by KPK, which he considered against procedures after he won the first.

Golkar has decided to wait for the courts decision, and Novanto should resign if the decision is against his favor.

Some party figures have called for the immediate holding of an extraordinary national meeting to elect Novantos replacement.

The calls have been louder with more support coming from three organizations that found the party, namely SOKSI, Kosgoro 1957, and MKGR.

They stated that the party must hold an extraordinary meeting by Dec 15 at the latest to replace Novanto.

They added that the meeting must be held to restore the partys honor and make victories in regional elections in 2018, as well as legislative elections in 2019.

"Golkar must be led by clean, dedicated, loyal, and an untainted cadre who has made achievements," SOKSI chairman Fadillah Ramli noted.

The chairman of Kosgoro 1957, Lamhot Sinaga, remarked that the extraordinary meeting would be the implementation of the central executive boards meeting that had decided to wait for the result of the court session, which will be held in case Novanto would not resign despite the courts decision against his favor.

"Golkar has been hurt as the corruption case has affected its image and caused its electability rate to drop drastically," he revealed.

MKGRs chairman for organizational and membership affairs, Chairuddin Simatupang, added that Golkar needs to restore its image and lead Indonesia to safety.

Minister of industry Airlangga Hartarto has so far been mentioned as the strong candidate to replace Novanto. Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is also former general chairman of Golkar and so is a revered figure in the party, has also expressed support for him.

As a parliament member in the period of 2009-2014, Novanto, along with Anang Sugiana Sudihardjono, a company director; Andi Agustinus alias Andi Narogong, a businessman; Irman, the director general of population affairs and civil registry; Sugiharto, the official charged of making commitment to the directorate general of population affairs and civil registry; and others, have been charged of benefiting themselves or others or corporations by abusing their authority and facilities vested on them because of their positions to cause a loss of Rp2.3 trillion out of the Rp5.9 trillion worth of the project to the state.

Indonesia plans to conduct the third round of simultaneous elections of regional heads in June 27, 2018, covering 17 provinces and 154 districts/cities, including West, Central, and East Java that have biggest voters. The first one would cover 269 regions in 2015, and the second one would cover 101 regions in 2017, before later embarking on simultaneous regional elections across the country as well as legislative and presidential elections.

Acting general chairman Idrus Marham remarked that Golkar has set a target of winning 60 percent of the regional elections in 2018 after it won 59 percent in the regional elections in 2017.

According to a survey by Poltracking Indonesia, the electability of Golkar Party has dropped below Gerindra, which is in the second place after ruling Indonesia Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP).

Senior Golkar politician Akbar Tanjung has noted that the central executive board must immediately hold an extraordinary meeting to deal with the impact of KPKs decision to name Novanto suspect on the party.

"The extraordinary meeting will be the most effective and legitimate for it," he added.

Akbar, who is former Golkar general chairman and now deputy chairman of the partys advisory board, pointed out that Golkars electability has dropped to only six percent.

"I am afraid Golkar could only collect four percent of votes, but if the collection is below four percent, the party may not have a single seat in DPR," he said, emphasizing the need to address the issue immediately.

Akbar added that Golkar must find a figure who is not affected by legal problems to replace Novanto.

He noted that he was optimistic that all cadres would fight and commit to bring a change before the general elections in 2019 so that the partys image would be restored.

In the last legislative election in 2014, Golkar finished second collecting 14.75 percent of the votes, following PDIP, with 18.95 percent of votes. The third place was taken by Gerindra, with 11.81 percent of votes.

Source: ANTARA News

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