Friday, December 22, 2017


Jakarta, Dec 22, 2017 (Antara) - In its extraordinary national congress on Dec 20, 2017, the Golkar Party unanimously appointed Airlangga Hartarto, Industry Minister, as its new general chairman to replace Setya Novanto, who has resigned although his term will end only in 2019.       
    The congress has decided that Hartarto will hold the top post until 2019. His term could be extended during a national leadership meeting.
         The extraordinary congress was held because Novanto is a suspect in a corruption case and is being detained in the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)'s prison cell.
         In the congress, Golkar also reaffirmed the party's commitment to supporting the current administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is from the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP), a stance that has been upheld since the chairmanship of Novanto.
         Jokowi will contest the 2019 presidential election for his second term in office.  
    Golkar Party's re-declaration of support to Jokowi, as a presidential candidate in the 2019 election, is important to demonstrate Golkar's commitment to supporting Jokowi's government and his candidacy in the 2019 presidential election.
         "Despite a change in leadership in the Golkar Party, the commitment to support President Jokowi's government for two terms has not changed," Hartarto emphasized.
         The party's provincial and district or municipality chapters, as well as its 10 mass organizations, support Jokowi, Hartarto stated recently.
         Denying any frictions in the party, Hartarto remarked that it is a regular practice for senior politicians of Golkar to have their "own cadres," but the party stands united in lending support to President Jokowi.  

    Hartarto stressed that he would report the results of the extraordinary national congress to President Joko Widodo.

         President Jokowi earlier noted that there were several groups within Golkar.
         "What I know is that there is a group of Mr JK (Jusuf Kalla, currently vice president). There is also a big group of Mr Aburizal (Bakrie, former chairman of Golkar). Mr Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan silently also has a group. There is a big group of Mr Akbar Tanjung, and everyone knows about it. There is another big group of Mr Agung Laksono, as well as other large groups," Jokowi noted.
         Jokowi expressed hope that Golkar would maintain its solidity, as an internal conflict within the party could affect domestic politics.    
    During the closing ceremony of the extraordinary congress, Vice President M Jusuf Kalla, who is senior politician of Golkar, disclosed that the party's internal turmoil had resulted in a change in chairmanships up to five times over the last several years.
         From 2014 to 2019, Golkar had five general chairmen, namely Aburizal Bakrie, HR Agung Laksono, Setya Novanto, Idrus Marham, and Hartarto.
         "The internal turmoil in this party must be overcome and should not recur," Kalla, who was once the Golkar's general chairman, warned.
         Meanwhile, the participants at the congress have also given their full mandate to Hartarto to revamp the organizational structure of the Golkar's Central Leadership Council (DPP).
         "The national congress has also unanimously given a mandate to the general chairman to revitalize and restructure the DPP administrators," Hartarto remarked.
         He pledged to revitalize and restructure Golkar to make it a clean party, and not just restrict itself to a slogan.
         Being temporarily detained by the anti-graft agency over a graft case, Novanto had recently sent a letter to resign as both the Golkar chairman and the Parliament chairman.
         Novanto was named a suspect in an electronic identity cards (e-KTP) graft case on July 17, 2017.
         He had filed a pretrial motion against the KPK. In October 2017, the South Jakarta District Court had approved Novanto's pretrial motion challenging his suspect status in the e-KTP case.
         In November 2017, the KPK had again named Novanto a suspect in the same graft case. Novanto is again filing a pretrial motion against the anti-graft agency, though this time from a KPK prison cell.
         Vowing to support the Jokowi administration, Novanto had won the position as Golkar chairman on May 17, 2016, replacing Aburizal Bakrie, who had stepped down to end an internal conflict within Golkar.
         At that time, Golkar had a leadership split with Bakrie, who wanted to be outside the government to play a check and balance role, and Agung Laksono, who was in favor of the Jokowi government.
         Golkar, which usually wins the first or second place in legislative elections, has determined that the party has no tradition of being in the opposition, so the party should be with the ruling government or support the ruling government. ***2***
(T.F001/A/BESSR/Bustanuddin) 22-12-2017

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