Indonesia: Airlangga Re-elected Golkar Chairman by Acclamation

  • As many have predicted, Airlangga Hartarto was re-elected as chairman of the Golkar Party by acclamation on 4 Dec 19 evening, after main rival Bambang Soesatyo dropped his candidacy.
  • None of the leaders of Golkar’s regional chapters stepped up to challenge Airlangga’s re-election bid during the party’s national congress at the Ritz Charlton Hotel in South Jakarta. Each of them proposed that Airlangga be reappointed as chairman until 2024.
  • Airlangga, 57, has been leading Golkar since Dec 17. He had replaced Setya Novanto, who was forced to leave the post prematurely after being convicted of corruption.
  • Securing the top post in Indonesia’s second-largest party is a double-win for Airlangga, who also got a promotion from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in Oct 19 to become the new coordinating minister for the economy.
  • His only potential hurdle in Golkar was Bambang, the speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the country’s highest law-making body.
  • But Bambang decided to drop his bid for the Golkar chairmanship mere hours before the congress started on 3 Dec 19 after a meeting with Airlangga brokered by another Golkar powerhouse, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan.
  • That left Airlangga as the only central figure during the congress and he became so popular that several party executives asked him to run for the 2024 presidential election.

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