Golkar back on its feet

Jakarta - Golkar, one of Indonesias major political parties, has now been back on its feet after it successfully determined its new leader to replace former general chairman Setya Novanto, who has been detained over alleged corruption.

The party was shocked after Novanto was named suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), leading to his detention and prompting party figures, concerned over the partys declining electability, to find a new leader.

It is Airlangga Hartarto who has finally been chosen to be at the helm of the party, which dominated political life in the country for years under former president Soeharto, who resigned in 1998 after ruling the country for more than 30 years, beating other figures.

Golkar officially installed Hartarto at an extraordinary congress as the partys new general chairman until 2019, or the end of the term of his predecessor Novanto.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, when officially closing the congress, said that within 3.5 years (from 2014 to 2019), Golkar had five general chairmen, namely Aburizal Bakrie, HR Agung Laksono, Setya Novanto, Idrus Marham, and Hartarto.

"Five general chairmen in less than one period is a fantastic number. This can be called a world record," Kalla noted.

The Golkar Partys internal turmoil has resulted in a change in chairmanships up to five times.

"The internal turmoil of this party must be overcome and should not recur," Kalla, who was once the Golkars general chairman, warned.

Participants at the congress have given their full mandate to Hartarto to revamp the organizational structure of Golkars central executive board.

Hartarto, who is currently the minister of industry, remarked after his election that he will report the results of the congress to President Joko Widodo, who attended the opening of the congress.

At the closing of the congress, Hartarto revealed a will of his father, which stated that he must support Widodo.

A week before he died, "my father gave me a will. He mandated me to support the program of the government of Widodo," he revealed.

He added that he used to discuss about industries in Indonesia with his father, including their present conditions, developments, and challenges.

A week before he died, however, he talked about the government of Widodo, which he considered as being good.

His father, Hartarto Sastrosoenarto, who was an industry minister during the New Order government of Soeharto, died on May 14, 2017, at the age of 84.

Hartarto, who has received a mandate to form a new central executive board, has called on all party cadres to support him in his efforts to revitalize the board and to avoid controversies to make the party great again, in order to meet regional elections next year and legislative as well as presidential elections in 2019.

Widodo has called on Golkar to maintain its solidity ahead of the political year in 2018.

"Many have advised that Golkar must return to its character and identity as a functional party (or) a working party," he pointed out in his speech at the opening of the partys congress.

He added that Golkar must remain solid despite the existence of groups of party figures in it.

He explained that the party must preserve internal solidity well with regard to preventing disruption of the political situation in the country ahead of the regional elections in 2018.

Widodo expressed appreciation to the party that has so far always supported the governments program, safeguarded the state ideology Pancasila, and preserved "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" (unity in diversity) principle.

He elaborated that the government is currently conducting economic development as well as infrastructure development from the periphery and would require Golkar cadres, who have understood its process of development and its political policy, to achieve targets.

"In view of that, Golkar must be solid again. It must be intact like a banyan tree, which is very strong. Golkar must become bigger and an important part of the political development in Indonesia," he remarked.

Golkar has reiterated support to Widodos re-election in 2019.

Hartarto hoped he could restore Golkar as a clean and top party again in the next general election in 2019. In the last general election in 2014, Golkar finished second after Widodos Indonesia Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP), followed by Gerindra, led by Prabowo Subianto, the rival of Widodo, in the 2014 presidential election.

He concluded that Golkar has been the number one party or runner-up but will never tolerate to become number three.

Source: Antara News

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