Novanto case puts Golkar support for Jokowi at stake

  • Golkar’s support for President Joko Widodo is likely at stake as the party is reportedly preparing a congress over mounting pressure from members calling for an election to replace chairman Setya Novanto, who has been named a graft suspect.
  • Golkar is the second-biggest party in the 560-member Indonesian Parliament after Mr Joko’s Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (PDI-P).
  • Jakarta-based Voxpol Centre Research and Consulting’s executive director Pangi Syarwi Chaniago said on 19 Nov 17 that political dynamics within Golkar would likely become more fluid if the party held a congress. This was because another politician elected as chairman might be unwilling to join the government coalition.
  • Previously part of the opposition coalition, Golkar switched its support to Mr Joko’s ruling coalition in Jan 16, significantly shifting the balance of power in South-east Asia’s largest nation.
  • Mr Pangi said there were still factions within Golkar, including those who are not keen to support Mr Joko. The political divisions were set aside with the election of Mr Novanto, who was then considered a neutral candidate.
  • “The party leadership can be won by any members of Aburizal’s faction,” he said, referring to businessman Aburizal Bakrie, who in 2015 led a faction against politician Agung Laksono, who had supported Mr Joko.
  • Mr Aburizal had at the time sided with the opposition alliance in Parliament, led by the Gerindra Party.

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