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The decline of the hegemonic party system in Indonesia: Golkar after the fall of Soeharto.

Golkar, or Golongan Karya (Functional Group) was the "state party" during the Soeharto era (1966-98). It dominated Indonesian politics, making the political system a "hegemonic party system". Two other parties, namely the Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP, Development Unity Party) and the Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (PDI, Indonesian Democratic Party), were forced to accept a minor role. The strength of Golkar was overwhelming and there was no opportunity for "opposition parties" to share power, let alone assume power. The hegemonic party system in Indonesia lasted for about 27 years (1971-98) until it was eventually replaced by a multi-party system. After the fall of Soeharto, Golkar remained the largest political party following the 2004 elections, even though it gained only 21 per cent of the vote. However, it is no longer a hegemonic party, as other parties have emerged and share power with Golkar. This paper examines the end of the hegemonic party system and the rise of pluralism in Indonesian politics, how Golkar has managed to survive, its evolution from a Javanese dominated organization to an ethnically pluralistic party, its current leadership, its relationships with other political parties and its performances in the 1999 and 2004 elections. The problems and prospects of Golkar are also discussed. (1)

Golkar and the Origin of the Hegemonic Party System

After a short experiment with parliamentary democracy (1949-57), President Sukarno introduced Guided Democracy (1959-65), which set the stage for the hegemonic party system. During the Sukarno era, political parties, with the exception of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI, Indonesian Communist Party), did not function. In the semi-authoritarian political system dominated by Sukarno, the army and the PKI were "extra-parliamentary forces" during the parliamentary period. However, after the abortive coup of 1965, the PKI was eliminated, followed by Sukarno a few months later, leaving the Indonesian army, led by Major-General Soeharto, as the only significant political force.

Soeharto had no wish to rule Indonesia as a direct military regime as he wanted to legitimize his rule. He adopted various measures to achieve political legitimacy, including the introduction of elections and measures to develop the battered Indonesian economy while controlling the government at the same time. Regular elections were important tools. Not surprisingly, Soeharto designed a political system that he could control. Golkar, formed in 1964, was originally a loose alliance of various right-wing organizations and army-sponsored groups, and was transformed into a new electoral machine by the Soeharto regime. But Golkar was more than an electoral machine. It was dominated by the military and the abangan Javanese (2) rather than the santri. It was secular rather than Islamic. It represented only one type of political culture, but had an enormous impact on Indonesian politics.

Prior to the 1971 election, the Soeharto government ensured that legislative arrangements, such as the elections bill and political parties bill, were revised to guarantee government control. General elections were held in 1971 (for only the second time since 1955), with Golkar emerging as the largest party. The Muslim parties, which had 43 per cent of the combined votes in 1955, only obtained 29 per cent. The Nationalist Party, which had been the largest party in 1955 (but not a dominant party), was relegated to the status of a minor party, as all government servants and non-Islamic groups were "persuaded" to vote for Golkar.

Golkar's strategy for winning elections is interesting. Golkar was transformed into a de facto "state party" as it consisted of three components, namely the bureaucracy, military and non-civil servants. (3) The structure was akin to a command system, ranging from the national level up to the provincial levels. All civil servants had to pledge their loyalty to Golkar. It is thus understandable why Golkar was able to exercise political hegemony for almost three decades. During the initial stages of the New Order, the military establishment and Soeharto were one, and Soeharto became the mentor (pembina) which directly controlled Golkar. All appointments had to meet with his approval. It was only later that Soeharto and the military began to diverge, and the former decided to utilize Golkar as his own personal vehicle. Soeharto was able to achieve this through various means. While he was able to control the military, he was unable to gain its full support. In response, he divided the military into groups, so that no group would be strong enough to challenge him. Another vital controlling device was the establishment of his own foundations (yayasan), controlled by he and his family, to ensure the flow of funds for political purposes (Suryadinata 1997a).

Soeharto was aware that military support for him would steadily erode. With the rise of political Islam, he began to cultivate several Islamic groups and co-opt Muslim leaders. He even introduced reforms in Golkar, one of which enabled a non-military man to be the general chairman, breaking a two-decade long tradition. By 1992, Harmoko, Soeharto's confidant who later betrayed him, was made the chairman of Golkar against the opposition of the military. Soeharto also made his daughter, Siti Hardijanti Hastuti, better known as "Tutut", as one of the chairpersons of Golkar, and his son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, as the treasurer of the party. Despite the erosion of military support for Golkar, there was no doubt that Golkar still relied on their support to ensure electoral success. It was not surprising that on 13 March 1996, prior to the 1997 election, General Hartono, an army general who was a staunch supporter of Soeharto, claimed that "ABRI [Indonesian armed forces] is the cadre of Golkar" (Stanley 1999, p. 205). He also wore a yellow jacket, which is the colour of Golkar (Sudradjat 2000, p. 48).

In the six elections conducted during the New Order era, Golkar not only won every one, but also garnered more than 62 per cent of the votes (see Table 1). Nevertheless, it should be noted that Golkar gained the highest number of votes at the 1997 election, the most violent election during the Soeharto era. Golkar committed various violations and more repressive measures were applied during the 1997 election, making Golkar less legitimate. As a result, the ruling party lost its grip.

The Decline of Golkar and the Rise of a Multiparty System

There had been significant socio-political changes within Indonesian society during the 32 years of the New Order, and increasing antagonism between the ruling party and opposition groups. Soeharto wanted to retain power through military means, but this was increasingly unacceptable to the Indonesian middle class, and especially to Indonesian students. Political Islam also surfaced and the military, which used to be under Soeharto's control, was no longer solidly behind him. All these factors weakened Soeharto's power base. The 1997-98 economic crisis made Soeharto more vulnerable. The May 1998 riots and the subsequent students demonstrations eventually forced the aging military leader to step down, giving his position to the vice president, Dr B.J. Habibie. (4)

Golkar was divided into two groups after the fall of Soeharto: one led by Habibie and the other by Edi Sudradjat, a retired army general who had been the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. (5) The first group consisted mainly of civilians who were closely linked to Soeharto, while the other was comprised of retired military generals and people who were critical of Soeharto and Habibie. These two groups also represented Islamic nationalists and secular nationalists respectively. To prepare for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Golkar decided to hold an extraordinary National Congress during 9-11 July 1998. Prior to the congress, the two groups had put forward their own candidates. Akbar Tandjung, who represented the Habibie group, and Edi Sudradjat, who was anti-Habibie, contested the general chairmanship of Golkar. The incumbent general chairman, Harmoko, was asked to step down as he was blamed for lying to Soeharto that the people still wanted him to serve another term. (6) Interestingly, he was also hated by Soeharto loyalists for stabbing his boss in the back during the May 1998 crisis--Harmoko openly asked Soeharto to step down as he was no longer needed by the people. This shows that Harmoko was a great opportunist. Initially he thought that Soeharto would able to hold on to power, therefore he told the president one thing but during the crisis he realized that Soeharto would be unable to maintain his grip on power and he quickly changed positions.

According to the regulations, the Golkar chairman was to be elected by the 27 regional (provincial) representatives (Dewan Pimpinan Daerah I, DPDI), not by Golkar members. The majority of these representatives were ex-military officers. Initially, it was reported that Edi Sudradjat had gained more support than Akbar (Sudradjat 2000, p. 45). It was also reported that Soeharto and his family supported Edi because they wanted to punish both Harmoko and Habibie for betraying the former president. However, the Edi group, which was critical of Soeharto and his family, denied the first report. (7) Just prior to the voting, however, some regional representatives changed their mind. It was reported that only 10 representatives supported Edi while 13 representatives sided with Akbar. (8) Four representatives were undecided. (9) It is worth noting that three representatives were ex-military men. While Akbar needed one more vote to win, Edi required all four votes.

During the congress, a rumour circulated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not accept Golkar if the elected general chairman was unable to support the present Indonesian national leadership. The IMF then played an important role during the Indonesian crisis. If the new Golkar chairman belonged to the old guard, it would not be acceptable to the IMF, and the IMF would not render any support to Indonesia. The rumour definitely benefited Akbar more than Edi. (10) According to one report, Habibie, as the president and leader of Golkar, had instructed the governors of all provinces to support Akbar. The night before the vote took place, there were also contacts between the Akbar group and regional representatives. "Money politics" was said to have played a role. (11) When the votes were counted, Akbar gained 17 while Edi received only 10. (12) The attitude of the military on this matter was also important. Although Lt-Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the military officer in charge of social-political matters, stated that it was up to Golkar to decide whom it wanted to be the new general chairman, (13) many believed that Yudhoyono preferred Akbar to Edi, because Edi was Yudhoyono's former boss and it would be easier for Yudhoyono to deal with Akbar. There was also a report that General Wiranto, who was then Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, had stated that he would like to see a general chairman who could work with the Habibie government. It was also reported that he had instructed regional commanders to tell their Golkar regional representatives to vote for Akbar (Sudradjat 2000, p. 45)

With the support of Habibie, Akbar became the new chairman of Golkar. (14) Similar to Soeharto, Habibie also wanted to make Golkar his personal electoral vehicle as he felt that he could no longer rely on Soeharto. From Habibie's perspective, Soeharto and his family members were more of a liability than an asset. In fact, there was conflict between Habibie and Soeharto family members even before Soeharto stepped down. Not surprisingly, Habibie began to purge the Soeharto clan and promoted his own people. During the Extraordinary Session of Golkar, not only was he able to remove Tutut and Bambang but also abolished the Mentor Council (Dewan Pembina) chaired by Soeharto himself. This was later replaced by an Advisory Council (Lembaga Dewan Penasehat). (15) Like Soeharto, Habibie appointed his own supporters to the new Council and Central Board. (16) Many were people from Habibie's native island of South Sulawesi, particularly from Makassar, and they became his proxies in Golkar. A. A. Baramuli and Dr Marwah Ibrahim, who came from South Sulawesi, led this camp.

The Habibie group was not anti-Soeharto. In fact, the Habibie government was seen to be an extension of the Soeharto regime, and the president was never able to completely sever ties with Soeharto. Nevertheless, in the new Golkar, there was also a group, led by Akbar Tandjung, which wanted to distance itself not only from Soeharto but also from Habibie. However, these two groups had something in common in that they were dominated by non-Javanese and were close to Islam. Although members of the "Akbar group" had closely collaborated with Soeharto in the past, they felt that now was the time to dissociate themselves. Yet they were unable to create a new party as their basis was still the New Order elite. This group consisted of people who were leaders of the HMI (Islamic Students Association), including Akbar Tandjung (former national chairman of HMI) and Fahmi Idris (former Jakarta chairman of HMI). These two groups, which were not antagonistic, collaborated when they wanted to "revitalize" Golkar soon after the fall of Soeharto. In fact, Akbar was initially supported by Habibie as both knew that they needed to be united in order to defeat the retired generals who wanted to recapture Golkar. It was with the support of Habibie and Wiranto that Akbar became the general chairman of Golkar.

Habibie, as the new president of Indonesia, directly controlled Golkar. There was a practice of primordialism (17) known as SDM--an abbreviation of Sumber Daya Makasar (Makassar's resources) and SOS--an abbreviation of Semua Orang Sulawesi (All Sulawesi's men) (Stanley 1999, p. 169). Irsyad Sudiro, a Javanese and the speaker of Golkar faction in the DPR (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat), was replaced by Habibie's crony Andi Mattalata, a Makassarese (Stanley 1999, p. 170). Sudiro questioned the decision but was ignored by Akbar. Later three other Members of Parliament who were close to Edi Sudradjat were also "recalled" from parliament (Stanley 1999, p. 171). As a matter of fact, initially Akbar, if not Habibie, attempted to persuade Edi to stay but the overture was flatly rejected. Once it became clear that there was no possibility of reconciliation, Akbar and Habibie began to purge their opponents. It was reported that by 13 August 1998, 142 DPR/MPR members had been recalled and on 15 October 1998, 86 new members were installed (Zenzie 1999, pp. 253-54).

During the Soeharto era, Golkar consisted of three components: the military, the bureaucracy and non-civil servants. However, during the reformasi period, when Akbar took over power, the military left Golkar, at least in terms of formal structure. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, then Head of the Social-Political Section of Armed Forces, stated in 1998 that ABRI (later, after April 2000, Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI) had started to withdraw its support for Golkar. (18) Akbar wanted the bureaucracy to remain in Golkar but the new civil service law issued before the 1999 election prohibited civil servants from holding positions in political parties (including Golkar). This separation undoubtedly weakened Golkar.

Golkar was further weakened by the departure of the Edi Sudradjat/Try Sutrisno group. In July 1998, soon after their defeat in the Golkar general chairman contest, Edi and Try supported the formation of the Barisan Nasional (national front), an anti-Soeharto and anti-Habibie organization. The group, led by retired General Kemal Idris, consisted of many retired generals who were "secular nationalists". They considered Habibie, Akbar and Feisal Tanjung to be pro-political Islam and labelled them the "Green Group", while they themselves were known as the "red and white" group (Red and White are the colours of the Indonesian flag, signifying that the group adopted secular nationalism in their orientation) (Stanley, 1999, p.185). Not long after this, a group of intellectuals who also favoured the Pancasila ideology rather than Islam formed the Gerakan Keadilan dan Pesatuan Bangsa (Movement for National Justice and Unity). These two groups later established the Partai Keadilan dan Persatuan, a new party led by Edi Sudradjat.

The new Golkar, known as the Partai Golkar (Golkar Party) after July 1998, was ready to contest the general election scheduled for June 1999. Unlike previous elections during the New Order era, this election was conducted under democratic conditions. There were 48 parties which contested the elections under the new electoral arrangements. Both national and international observers were allowed to monitor the elections. The military, which had been weakened after the fall of Soeharto, appeared to remain neutral during the election, although a number of irregularities involving threatening behaviour did occur.

Faced with this new situation, some observers predicted that Golkar would be totally defeated, as Soeharto had been discredited. However, Golkar leaders hoped to win a significant number of votes, as the party was still intact and had financial resources. One source gave 30-40 per cent votes as the Golkar target (Stanley 1999, p. 245). Nevertheless, it faced several new parties which were more popular, in particular the Partai Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuangan (PDI-P, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, the Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN, National Mandate Party) led by Dr Amien Rais, former chairman of Muhammadiah, the second largest Muslim association in Indonesia, and the Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB, National Awakening Party), unofficially led by Abdurrahman Wahid, leader of Nadlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim association in Indonesia. However, the results defied predictions made by the Indonesian media.

Golkar and the 1999 General Election

The Indonesian press, which was generally pro-reformasi, predicted that newly formed parties would be popular and hence would collect more votes. Partai Golkar and the PPP--the "New Order parties"--would, it predicted, perform very poorly in the election. The election results showed that the PDI-P gained the largest bloc of votes but this was only slightly more than one third of the total votes cast. Votes cast for the PKB and PAN were not as high as expected. Although Golkar's share of the vote dropped dramatically, from 74 per cent in 1997 to only 22 per cent, it emerged as the second largest party. The PPP faired badly: it gained 17 per cent in the 1997 election but only polled 10.72 per cent in 1999. Nevertheless, both Golkar and the PPP were able to occupy the number two and number four positions respectively, showing that the influence of the New Order had not disappeared entirely (see Table 2). (19) Golkar's success is easy to understand, as the Habibie government was basically an extension of the New Order. The bureaucracy and the old political mechanisms remained intact and the Habibie regime was able to use these to promote the interests of Golkar and the PPP. On the political scene, there was a noticeable change after the election. Golkar was no longer the dominant party. The new party--the PDI-P--emerged as the largest political organization. The role of the military had declined, the clamour for more press freedom continued and there was also a growth of both the middle class in urban areas and of Islamic political activities.

The relatively good performance of Golkar, apart from its organizational strength and money politics, was due partly to the greater electoral weight given to the outer islands. For instance, to gain a seat in Aceh only required 82,385 votes; in South Sulawesi only 155,516 votes; while in Central Java, the required number was 291,597 votes. This also explains why the PPP, which was stronger in the outer islands, obtained 58 seats with only 10.72 per cent of votes, while the PKB, which got 12.66 per cent of the votes, only obtained 51 seats. There was a strong anti-Javanese sentiment in the outer islands. In addition, "money politics" also played a role--it was widely reported that Golkar bought votes during the election. (20)

Golkar and the Presidential Election of 1999

Having participated in the parliamentary election, Golkar immediately prepared for the presidential election. However, Golkar's presidential candidate had been decided by the Central Board before the general election and it became problematic as Golkar regional representatives were divided on who should represent the party in the presidential election. Five names were mentioned during the national meeting held in March 1999: Habibie, Akbar Tanjung, General Wiranto, Ginandjar Kartasasmita and Hamengkubuwono X. After three days of debate, there was still no agreement. When put to the vote, Habibie won 28 votes, Akbar 26 and General Wiranto 21 (Stanley 1999, p. 249). As there was no consensus, a decision on the presidential candidate would be postponed until the Golkar National Leadership Meeting (Rapim) in May 1999. Soon after, Habibie's group began its campaign, claiming that he was the sole presidential candidate of Golkar. Marzuki Darusman, chairman of Golkar, commented that to make Habibie the sole candidate of Golkar at this point would split Golkar (Stanley 1999, p. 256).

Nevertheless, the Habibie group continued to put pressure on the party to make a decision before the June 1999 general election. Initially, the Akbar Tandjung group resisted, but eventually gave in. The Golkar Central Leadership Council (DPP) held four plenary sessions before reaching an agreement on the date of the National Leadership Meeting. Prior to the plenary session, supporters of Akbar formed the majority but during the fourth plenary session, the situation changed. When put to a vote, it was 69 to 37 in favour of the Habibie group, i.e. to hold the National Leadership Meeting on 13-14 May 1999, about a month before the general election (Stanley 1999, p. 257). Apparently "money politics" played a role: Habibie himself promised Golkar Rp 300 billion once he was elected the sole presidential candidate. During the National Leadership Meeting, it was reported that the same strategy was used again. Many who opposed Habibie's nomination changed their mind, as they were offered between Rp 1 billion and 3 billion per person (Stanley 1999, p. 257.) Habibie was declared the sole presidential candidate of Golkar at the end of the National Leadership Meeting, and the other four candidates were made vice-presidential candidates.

Outsiders discerned the existence of two camps--the Habibie camp and the Akbar Tandjung camp--and called the former the "Black" Golkar (Golkar "Hitam") and the latter "White" Golkar (Golkar "Putih"). (21) Due to the close connection of Habibie and the New Order, the Habibie group was blamed for Golkar's poor performance during the 1999 general election. Golkar targeted 40 per cent of the votes during the election but gained only 22 per cent (Stanley 1999, p. 245). Nevertheless, the Habibie group, strongly supported by A.A. Baramuli, argued that it was the fault of the Akbar Tanjung group. He claimed that he was able to deliver in the outer islands, especially in Eastern Indonesia, but the Akbar Tandjung group was unable to do the same in Java. (22) A few weeks before the general election, the Habibie group managed to secure for their leader the Golkar presidential candidacy. Many people thought that the contest would be between Habibie and Megawati.

However, two events shattered Habibie's aspirations. One was the Bali Bank Scandal and the other was the violent separation of East Timor from Indonesia in 1999. In May 1999 there was a report that Habibie's men had asked for a large sum of money (Rp 560 billion) from the Bali Bank to sponsor Golkar during the general and presidential elections. (23) The money was from the IMF fund which was meant for the re-capitalization of Indonesian banks. The opposition parties highlighted the issue and Golkar eventually acknowledged that it had received money from the Bali Bank. It was reported that Rp 400 billion had been spent on the elections and the rest had gone into the pockets of Habibie's cronies. The IMF was incensed with the Habibie administration and threatened to withhold further loans until the Bali Bank scandal was resolved. The second event was the East Timor referendum in August 1999 during which 78 per cent of the population voted for independence and militia groups, supported by a faction within the TNI, began terrorizing the Timor population in response. The violence only stopped with the dispatch of a multilateral intervention force led by Australia. The military, which had disagreed with Habibie's initial decision to hold the independence ballot, blamed the president for the loss of East Timor and Indonesia's humiliation.

The sign that Habibie was in serious trouble came on 14 October 1999 during his accountability speech to the MPR. He claimed that while his administration may not have achieved political stability, it had stabilized the economy. He expected that the MPR would endorse his speech, but reaction among its members varied. Golkar was lukewarm while the opposition parties, especially PDI-P and PKB, were critical. Other factions were not particularly enthusiastic either. Since there was no consensus on the speech, it was put to a vote on 19 October. Prior to the vote Habibie was confident that his speech would be accepted. But to the surprise of Habibie and his "Irama Suka Nusantara" Group, (24) his speech was rejected by the MPR by a narrow margin (355 to 322), indicating that Habibie might not get enough support from the MPR for his presidential bid. It should also be noted that on 18 October, one day before the vote, General Wiranto suddenly announced that he had declined to be Habibie's vice-presidential running mate. (25) This was taken to mean that the military no longer supported Habibie.

In fact, within Golkar itself, there was no consensus on Habibie's candidacy. On this issue, Golkar was divided into three groups: the Habibie group, the Akbar Tanjung Group and the Marzuki Darusman Group. (26) Akbar Tandjung had reservations about Habibie's candidacy while Marzuki Darusman was known to be against Habibie. Golkar was unable to unite which negatively impacted its performance during the election. Perhaps equally important was the attitude of the military whose representatives were also against Habibie.

Events came to a head on 20 October when Habibie decided not to run again, and Akbar Tandjung was asked to succeed him. Although Akbar was reluctant at first, he eventually agreed provided that all Golkar members endorsed his candidature. The Irama Suka group, however, refused to support him, resulting in no Golkar nomination. When the presidential election was held, there were only two candidates: Megawati and Abdurrahman Wahid. The latter was not taken seriously by either side at the beginning, but Golkar votes eventually went to Abdurrahman Wahid rather than Megawati.

The divisions within Golkar were an important factor in Habibie's failure to contest the election, though it may not have been the deciding factor. The pro-Habibie faction blamed the Akbar Tandjung group for selling Golkar out. It was especially keen to ensure that Habibie would be elected president, as its interests would have been protected. Akbar Tanjung was unhappy as he saw this as a challenge to his authority as Golkar chairman. Equally important, donations to Golkar were not given to the party's central committee but instead went into the pockets of individuals. (27)

Golkar as an Abangan and Non-Javanese-Dominated Party?

There is no doubt that Golkar has undergone significant changes since 1998. Not only is it no longer a hegemonic party, but it has also shed its abangan character. Ideologically, it continues to be based on Pancasila, but Islamic elements have penetrated the party and it no longer champions the abangan culture. But Golkar is basically "secular" as it subscribes to Pancasila and nationalism; the Islamic symbols have not replaced the previous abangan symbols. Besides, it does not advocate an Islamic state nor the return to the Jakarta Charter, in which Muslims are required to practice shariah (Islamic law). For one thing, the secular nationalist elements are still quite strong within the regional representatives and its supporters.

During the Soeharto era, the Javanese clique dominated Golkar. However, towards the end of his rule, he brought in non-Javanese, some of whom were Islamic-inclined, planting the seeds for the non-Javanese takeover of the party. Examining post-Soeharto Golkar office holders, it is clear that the number of non-Javanese has increased significantly. However, the non-Javanese Golkar leaders were divided into two groups: the South Sulawesi Group and the Sumatran Group. When Habibie was president, the South Sulawesi group was powerful. Indeed, the majority of Golkar members in the DPR/MPR belonged to the Habibie group. However, after the fall of Habibie, the Sumatra group gained the upper hand within the organization, but Golkar members in the DPR/MPR (1999-2004) were dominated by the Sulawesi group as they were elected during Habibie's time. This explains why Akbar Tandjung was unable to gain enough votes during the 2001 vice-presidential election. (28) According to one source, of 120 DPR members from Golkar, about 100 belonged to the Sulawesi group. (29)

After the fall of Habibie, this group outside parliament declined in terms of power, while Akbar was able to control the national leadership. In 2001, the Akbar group encountered difficulties again, as Akbar was accused of misappropriating the Bulog Fund in April 1999 for personal gains. (30) The case became known as Buloggate II. (31)

Meanwhile, the Sulawesi group used the opportunity to undermine Akbar, and there was pressure within the party to force Akbar to resign. (32) Marwah Daud, a chairperson of Golkar in the anti-Akbar camp, commented in Tempo that power and attention should not be centred on the general chairman if the party wanted to advance (Ibrahim 2001, p. 107). Cosmas Batubara, a Batak who was a former cabinet minister, also urged Akbar to step down, while Agung Laksono, a Javanese who was one of the chairmen, sat on the fence (Asmarani 2002).

It should also be noted that Marzuki Darusman (AttorneyGeneral during the Gus Dur presidency) was considered a leader of a subgroup within White Golkar. During the 1999 presidential election, he was the one who opposed the candidacy of Habibie. He was later joined by Akbar, earning the enmity of Habibie's supporters. During Buloggate II, Marzuki defended Akbar and disagreed with the idea of changing the general chairman of Golkar (Marzuki 2001, p. 106).

The 2004 Parliamentary Election

The internal struggle was temporarily suspended in the run-up to parliamentary elections in April 2004. The PDI-P also suffered from internal divisions and its popularity was declining, providing a chance for Golkar to grow again at the PDI-P's expense. Akbar was seen to be in the front line and Golkar emerged as the largest party in the 2004 election, defeating the PDI-P. Nevertheless, the percentage of votes was still lower than what it had gained in 1999. Akbar was credited with revitalizing Golkar.

As had happened in the 1999 elections, Golkar won in most provinces of the outer islands, although its numbers in Java also increased (see Table 3). The PDI-P, however, only won in three provinces, namely Central Java, Bali and East Indonesia, indicating that it was still a Bali and Java-based party. The PKB, the third largest party, was also Java-based. It only won in East Java which was the stronghold of the NU. It should be noted that there were two new parties which emerged in the 2004 parliamentary elections, namely the Partai Demokrat (PD), which was controlled by Susilo Bambang Yuhdhoyono, the former security chief in the Megawati cabinet, and the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), an Islamic party which was based on the Partai Keadilan (PK). The former was strong in Java while the latter was influential in Jakarta and the outer islands.

It is worth noting that Siti Hardijanti Hastuti alias Tutut (eldest daughter of Soeharto) and retired General Hartono established a new party called Partai Karya Peduli Bangsa (PKPB, the National Concern Party), which to all intents and purposes another Golkar. (33) Both Tutut and Hartono were unhappy with their ouster from Golkar and wanted to create a rival to it during the 2004 election. Initially, Hartono went to see Soeharto for advice. Soeharto noted that there was no need to take over Golkar and instead suggested he establish another party. Hartono reportedly seized the opportunity to do so, leading to the creation of the PKPB. (34) However, the party was a failure as it only secured less than 2 per cent of the total votes.

The 2004 Golkar Convention and the Fall of Akbar Tandjung

Once the parliamentary election had ended, parties that had polled more than 5 per cent of total votes or 3 per cent of the national parliamentary seats were qualified to put forward a presidential candidate. (35) Prior to the parliamentary election, Akbar had collaborated with other parties in order to consolidate his position in the party. His cooperation with Megawati eventually freed him from the accusation of corruption in the Bulloggate scandal. Initially, it was rumored that Akbar would join hands with Megawati to be her deputy in the presidential election, but the victory of Golkar over the PDI-P changed the picture. Since Golkar was the largest party, Akbar could no longer accept a secondary position. Akbar wanted to contest the presidential election on the Golkar ticket, but was challenged by many presidential hopefuls: Wiranto, Suryo Paloh (an Acehnese media tycoon), Prabowo Subianto (the former son-in-law of Soeharto) and Aburizal Bakrie (a Bugis business tycoon).

The emergence of Wiranto was unexpected, as he was not active within the party. As a retired general he was rumoured to have secured the backing of the Soeharto group and therefore presented a threat to Akbar. Indeed, in the first round the voting was close but Akbar was ahead of Wiranto by 10 votes (see Table 4). The other candidates were left behind. Since no candidate gained more than 50 per cent of the vote, the first two candidates with the highest votes contested the second round. During this second round, the majority of votes for the three other candidates went to Wiranto, who secured 315 votes. With 227 votes, Akbar's dream of becoming Golkar's presidential candidate was shattered.

During the first round of the direct presidential election, there were five pairs of candidates: Yudhoyono-Jusuf Kalla, Megawati-Hasym Muzadi, Wiranto-Solahuddin Wahid, Amien Rais-Siswono Yudohusodo and Hamzah Haz-Agum Gumelar. The results of the first round were disappointing for Golkar. Yudhoyono-Kalla gained first place with 37 per cent of the vote, Megawati-Hasyim occupied second place with 26 per cent and Wiranto-Solahuddin, in third place, gained 22 per cent. (36) Since no candidate was able to gain more than 50 per cent of the vote, the first two candidates who gained the highest vote went forward into the second round. Wiranto-Solahuddin were thus disqualified for the second round, signifying Golkar's defeat during the presidential election of 2004.

Without a presidential candidate from Golkar, Akbar began to lay out his strategy. He negotiated with Megawati-Hasyim and other party candidates to form the so-called National Coalition (Koalisi Kebangsaan) to back Megawati-Hasyim. He hoped that if Megawati won, Golkar would be rewarded with key positions in the new cabinet, and that he would be able to retain his position in Golkar. Some Golkar leaders, led by Fahmi Idris and Marzuki Darusman, disagreed and supported Yudhoyono-Kalla, resulting in open conflict with Akbar. On 31 August, the Fahmi Idris group established the Golkar Party Reform Forum, to bolster support for Yudhoyono-Kalla. Kalla, also from Golkar, attended the declaration. Akbar decided to expel those leaders who openly supported Yudhoyono-Kalla, including Fahmi Idris and Marzuki Darussman. Earlier, Akbar also illegally expelled Kalla for being disloyal to Golkar. However, the second round of the presidential election was a big blow to Akbar: Yudhoyono-Kalla gained 61.2 per cent of the votes while the Megawati-Solahuddin team, which was supported by Akbar, only gained 38.8 per cent. With the defeat of Megawati, Akbar's political future looked dim.

Golkar's 2004 National Congress

After the second round of the presidential election, Golkar scheduled a national congress between 15-20 December, the main purposes of which was to elect a new chairman. The incumbent, Akbar Tandjung, wanted to retain his position. Prior to the election, senior members of Golkar, including leaders of its the eight affiliated organizations, held a special meeting in Jakarta to make preparations to unseat Akbar. These senior leaders included former presidential candidate Wiranto, former Golkar chairman Harmoko, former State Secretary Moerdiono, former Advisory Council member Siswono Yudhohusodo and former Manpower Minister Cosmas Batubara. The slogan was ABA: asal bukan Akbar (Anybody But Akbar). Akbar, however, fought back. He travelled extensively around the country to garner the support of provincial and district Golkar leaders, reportedly distributing around US$10 million. This money was reportedly given by former president Megawati "to secure Golkar's support for her re-election". (37)

In the run-up to the congress, there emerged a number of contenders: Surya Paloh, a media tycoon who was close to Yudhoyono, Marwah Daud, a staunch opponent of Akbar, Agung Laksono, who was the new speaker of the House, Abu Rizal Bakrie, the current coordinating minister of economy and General Wiranto. Kalla's candidacy was a surprise as many maintained that there was a conflict of interest between the positions of vice-presidency and the general chairmanship of Golkar, as the vice-president is supposed to represent the state and not party interests. However, Kalla did not agree. Kalla, a Bugis tycoon, was much richer than Akbar; and was not short of funding for the Golkar election.

Akbar was quite confident that he would get more support within the party than his rivals as he was the person who had "saved" Golkar from ignominy. As an experienced politician, Akbar succeeded in changing the party constitution to strengthen his position. The congress had accepted that the voting rights would be extended to the delegates of DPD II, while in the past, they were confined to the delegates of DPD I. With this amendment, the delegates who could vote increased from 36 to 484. Akbar was better known at the district level than Kalla. In addition, the constitution also stipulated that a qualified candidate should have served in Golkar as an executive member for at least five years. This was meant to exclude Kalla and Wiranto. All candidates were vetted in a complex process. Nevertheless, Kalla passed the screening after a long delay.

During the convention, the names of five personalities emerged as possible candidates: Akbar Tandjung, Wiranto, Jusuf Kalla, Marwah Daud and Slamet Effendi Jusuf. The last one was not well known. He was an NU member who had joined Golkar to be the head of the Youth Department of the party and was later promoted to deputy chairman. (38)

Akbar had attempted to make deals with other contestants. It was reported that he won over Wiranto by promising him the chairmanship of the Golkar Advisory Council (Dewan Penasihat Pusat), a new name for the Golkar Supervisors Council (Dewan Pembina Pusat), (39) a prestigious but essentially powerless position held by Soeharto before he stepped down. However, Akbar failed to woo the other contestants. Former son-in-law of Soeharto Prabowo Subianto, media tycoon Suryo Paloh, then coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Aburizal Bakrie and current Speaker of the House, Agung Laksono, openly supported Kalla. (40) When the actual election took place, there were only three candidates: Akbar Tandjung, Jusuf Kalla and Marwah Daud.

The election results were surprising. During the first round of voting, Jusuf Kalla won 269 votes against Akbar Tandjung's 191 votes, while Marwah Daud polled only 13 votes, disqualifying her from the second round. The results of the second round were even more surprising than the first: Kalla gained 323 votes while Akbar gained only 156, less than half of his opponent. (41) The myth of Akbar's "immortality" was crushed.

However, if we look at the history of Golkar, it would not have been difficult to guess that Akbar would be eventually pushed aside as he was in a position of weakness. Akbar had many enemies within Golkar and these enemies, apart from Wiranto, threw their support behind Kalla. The majority of the delegates felt that Akbar would not be able to offer any tangible benefits such as government positions, while Kalla would. Even Akbar's close ally, Agung Laksono, abandoned him to join Kalla, as he was promised the newly created Vice-General Chairmanship of Golkar. (42)

President Yudhoyono had a vested interest in making Kalla the general chairman of Golkar, so that Golkar would co-operate with the government in parliament. If Akbar won the general chairmanship, the Yudhoyono government would encounter difficulties in passing legislation, as the National Coalition had a larger number of MPs compared to the government. With Golkar in the hands of Kalla, the government would have fewer problems in implementing its policies. Therefore, it would not be in Yudhoyono's interest to allow Akbar to retain the general chairmanship of Golkar.

In fact, the 2004 Golkar National Congress was significant as the party constitution was further amended to make it more democratic. The voting rights were extended to DPD II. Nevertheless, like the past general chairman elections, money politics was also played a part, and it was widely reported that the delegates were given money to secure their support. The victory of Kalla also raised the profile of big business within Golkar, as most of Kalla's allies are business figures.

The victory of Jusuf Kalla as the general chairman of Golkar and Agung Laksono as the deputy general chairman was significant, not only for President Yudhoyono but also for Kalla himself. Kalla may have an ambition to be the next president and Golkar would provide a suitable vehicle. Some have even argued that Kalla will be Yudhoyono's rival in the long run as the former controls the largest party in the parliament. However, in the short run, it is not likely that Kalla will do anything to challenge Yudhoyono as he has not yet consolidated power, and his success in the election could not be separated from his association with Yudhoyono. Moreover, Kalla was not known as a strong party leader in Golkar and his real power base is still in South Sulawesi rather than at the national level.

Golkar's 2006 National Leadership Meeting

Kalla assumed the top position in Golkar and appeared to be more powerful than Yudhoyono. In May 2005, for instance, Kalla was interviewed by Kompas where he was quoted as saying that his task was not confined to economic affairs and that "president and vice-president won the election together and therefore have the same responsibility" (Kompas, 7 May 2005). This gave the impression that Kalla's rights and Yudhoyono's rights were on par. Two examples can be used to show Kalla's high profile activities: he was in charge of the tsunami relief operation, and initiated talks with the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) separatist group, both of which were supposed to have been clone by Yudhoyono. Nevertheless, it was later explained that Kalla as vice-president was assisting the president, not taking over his tasks. Regardless of Kalla's high profile actions in the government, regional leaders of Golkar complain that he has not done anything to benefit Golkar at the grassroots level. The close cooperation between Golkar and the government has irritated some of the party's leaders. When Yudhoyono established the President Working Unit for Managing Reform (UKP3R) in October 2006 and excluded Kalla, some Golkar leaders criticized Kalla for giving in (Alfian 2006). When the second cabinet reshuffle in early May 2007 took place and Golkar only managed to gain one extra position (Ministry of Justice and Human Rights), Kalla was blamed again. (43)

Before Golkar's National Leadership Meeting, a few regional leaders wanted the party to withdraw its support for the Yudhoyono government. Three component organizations of Golkar--Soksi, Kosgoro and MKGR--criticized Kalla for having no grassroots support in the party and asked him to step down (Nugraha 2006). However, during the meeting, Kalla defended his position. The meeting managed to reconfirm Pancasila as the party's ideology, and Golkar's strong desire to defend the present system of governance in Indonesia. It also reiterated Golkar's support for the Yudhoyono government. (44) Nevertheless, popular support for Golkar has declined under Kalla's leadership. The LSI (Lingkaran Survei Indonesia) poll conducted in March 2007 showed that if elections were held, 22.6 per cent of the respondents would vote for the PDI-P, 16.5 per cent for Partai Golkar and 16.3 per cent for Partai Demokrat. (45) Again, many Golkar leaders blame Kalla for Golkar's poor performance.

Concluding Remarks

The downfall of President Soeharto did not destroy Golkar as a party. It managed to survive in the era of reformasi and eventually emerged as the second largest party in the 1999 election and the largest party in 2004. In 1999 Golkar won 22 per cent of the votes in parliamentary elections and 21 per cent of the votes in 2004. It became the largest party in parliament due to the decline of the PDI-P, despite its decrease in the overall share of votes.pAlthough no longer the dominant political force, Golkar has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Post-Soeharto Indonesia has not been the product of a revolution but of half-hearted reform. The structure and personnel of Golkar have survived. Soeharto ruled Indonesia for so long that most of Golkar's present leaders have been associated with his regime, to greater or lesser degrees and new leaders, who are not associated with New Order, have not yet emerged.

Golkar has succeeded in staying in politics. Apart from the support of the old forces and its strong machinery all over Indonesia, its success has also been partly due to the purging of Soeharto and his family from the party. The "new" leaders, although associated previously with the New Order, have managed to project the image of a new, civilian Golkar. They have quietly embraced Islamic elements so that the party no longer has an anti-Islamic image. In fact, some voters have come to see post-Soeharto Golkar as an Islamic party. (46) Yet, Golkar remains as secular party in the sense that it has continued to subscribe to the Pancasila ideology rather than Islam, and it has not altered the non-Islamic symbols of the party. The ethnic composition of the leadership has changed in the post-Soeharto period, and non-Javanese are holding key positions.

Golkar is divided into many factions based on ethnicity and region. These factions have continued to jostle for power. They are: the Sulawesi group (earlier known as the Irama Suka Nusantara) now represented by Jusuf Kalla, the Sumatra group represented by Akbar Tandjung, the Javanese group represented by Agung Laksono and others. The Sumatran (Batak) group lost its power after the Bali Congress, the Sulawesi group is on the rise, and the Javanese group is waiting in the wings.

Golkar continues to project an image of a non-Javanese rather than a Javanese party. In the 1999 elections, it won the majority of the votes from the outer islands rather than the Javanese provinces, while the PDI-P and the PKB emerged as Javanese-based parties. In the 2004 elections, the performance of Golkar was still strong outside Java but improved in Java. The non-Javanese image of Golkar, however, has not yet disappeared. It is possible that in the future, the Javanese might regain control of Golkar as the non-Javanese factions have been fighting against one another, enabling the Javanese to consolidate their position. However, unlike during the Soeharto era when the Javanese were predominant, Javanese now are prepared to share power with the non-Javanese.

It should also be pointed out that Golkar has undergone significant changes. Initially Golkar was dominated by the military which was represented by Soeharto himself. Gradually it became dominated by the civilian bureaucracy represented by Akbar Tandjung (and Habibie). With the defeat of Akbar, Golkar has now become a party dominated by big business as represented by Jusuf Kalla. Nevertheless, the bureaucratic elements have remained strong.

The post-Soeharto era has given rise to a plural political party system where there is no dominant party. Political power is divided among a few major political parties. Apart from the "older parties" such as Golkar, PDI-P and PPP, there is also PAN, PKB, PD and the PKS. The rise of PD is interesting as this is a secular party dominated by Yudhoyono. The political landscape of Indonesian politics has become more complicated than in the past, and the political ideology has remained divided. On the one hand, there are political parties which are secular such as Golkar, PDI-P and PD, while on the other hand, there are Islamic parties such as PPP, PKS and PBB. The PAN and PKB, however, claim to be Pancasila parties but actually are based on two Islamic organizations. In the future, there may be fusion between ideologically similar parties but in the short run, fragmentation of political parties will continue.

Golkar, a political organization which was closely linked to Soeharto, has managed to survive. It has regained its primary place in Indonesian politics, but it is far from controlling the Indonesian political scene. Anti-Golkar forces are strong and will try to prevent it from regaining its former dominance.


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Ananta, Aris, Evi Nurvidya Arifin and Leo Suryadinata. Indonesian Electoral Behaviour: A Statistical Perspective. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2004.

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Sebastian, Leonard C. "A balance between party and public interests". Straits Times, 11 June 2007.

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Suryadinata, Leo. Political Culture and Military Ascendancy: A Study of Golkar in Indonesia. Athens, Ohio University Press, 1989.

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Zenzie, Charles U. "Indonesia's new political spectrum". Asian Survey 39, no. 2 (March/April 1999): 253-54.


(1) I have been studying Golkar since the early 1980s and have published the following: one book on Golkar proper (Suryadinata 1989), one article on Golkar (Suryadinata 1997b), later republished in a collection of my articles (Suryadinata 1998), and a few books (some are jointly authored books) in which Golkar is discussed in some detail (Suryadinata 2002; Ananta, Arifin and Suryadinata 2004; Ananta, Arifin, Suryadinata, 2005). This article has not only drawn from the above mentioned publications but also contains new information not included in them. Moreover, it represents my reflections on post-Soeharto Golkar.

(2) The terms abangan, priyayi and santri as analytical concepts were first introduced by Clifford Geertz (Geertz 1960). Abangan is used to refer to Javanese Muslims who are "syncretic" in their beliefs, the priyayi are influenced by Hinduism, while santri are "purer" in their Islamic beliefs. Geertz's concepts have been criticized. For a brief discussion on this, see Ananta, Arifin and Suryadianata (2004, pp. 8-9).

(3) This component is also called Golkar proper.

(4) When selecting Habibie as vice-president, Soeharto did not think that he would be forced to step down. His selection of Habibie was based on the following factors: he had no independent base, was loyal to him and hence did not pose a threat. Soeharto did not expect that during the May crisis he would be manoeuvered by Habibie and Soeharto's loyalists to pass the presidency to Habibie. In retrospect, and from Soeharto's perspective, the selection of Habibie was correct because Habibie was too close to Soeharto to put him on trial.

(5) Try Sutrisno was a retired general who was former Vice-President of Indonesia (1993-97), while Edi Sudradjat was the former Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).

(6) "Golkar to elect new leadership", Straits Times, 6 June 1998.

(7) "Akhirnya Akbar yang berkibar", Forum Keadilan 7, no. 8 (27 July 1998): 34.

(8) However, another source says that only 19 regional representatives openly expressed their support: 11 supported Akbar (Aceh, Irian Jaya, East Kalimantan, Riau, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, West Sumatra, North Sumatra and South Sumatra); 8 supported Edi (Bali, Jakarta, East Java, Central Java, West Java, West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara). The rest were undecided. See "Pertarungan ketat di Munaslub Golkar", Suara Pembaruan, 19 July 1998. It appears that the supporters were divided along Java and non-Java lines.

(9) "Akhirnya Akbar yang berkibar", p. 85. The four provinces/special regions which were undecided were Bengkulu, Jambi, Yogyakarta and East Timor.

(10) "Tanjung Menyalib edi", Kompas, 11 July 1998.

(11) "Akhirnya Akbar yang berkibar", p. 85.

(12) It was not officially stated which provincial representatives voted for Edi, but from the above information, those in Java voted for Edi. See also "Pertarungan ketat di munaslub Golkar".

(13) "Reformasi total di pokok beringin tua", Forum Keadilan 7, no. 8 (27 July 1998): 87.

(14) "Akhirnya Akbar...", p. 84; "Politik Akomodasi Akbar", Gatra, 18 July 1998. (

(15) There were 37 members, of which Harmoko was appointed chairman, A.A. Baramuli, Ginandjar and Feisal Tandjung as vice chairmen, and Maladi (Habibie's Minister for Law) as secretary. (Stanley 1999, p. 173). All of them were known as Habibie supporters.

(16) On the composition of the Partai Golkar Central Board 1999-2004, see Kompas, 20 December 2004.

(17) This is related to "primordialist". It means that "ethnicity as a collective identity is so deeply rooted in historical experience that it should properly be treated as given as human ralations". (Esma 1994, p. 10)

(18) "Reformasi total di pokok beringin tua", Forum Keadilan, 27 July 1998, pp. 86-87.

(19) The PPP, in fact, occupied no. 3 in terms of its MPs as it gained in the outer islands, which required fewer votes to obtain one parliamentary seat than in Java.

(20) For interesting reports on "money politics" during the 1999 general election, see "Pemilu 1999: Kesempurnaan yang Retak", Tempo, 4 July 1999. See also Pemilihan Umum 1999: Demokrasi atau Rebutan Kursi?, pp. 108-109. (Jakarta: LSPP, 1999).

(21) "Pertarungan Golkar 'Hitam' dan 'Putih'", Suara Merdeka, 11 August 1999.

(22) Ibid.

(23) Many books have been published on the Bank Bali scandal in Indonesian; one of them is Saydam (1999).

(24) "Iramasuka Nusantara" is the acronym of "Irian Jaya-Maluku-Sulawesi-Kalimantan" and "Nusa Tenggara". Sometimes it is abbreviated as the Iramasuka (meaning: Happy Melody Group).

(25) Habibie decided to invite Wiranto as a running mate on 13 October 1999, Republika, 14 October 1999. It was reported that Wiranto waited till the last minute to announce this because had he done it earlier, Habibie could have replaced him with another general. See "Ketika Sang Jenderal Memilih", Tajuk 2, no. 18 (28 October 1999): 58-59.

(26) For a good description of the split in Golkar before and after the fall of Soeharto, see Golkar Retak (Jakarta: Institut Studi Arus Informasi, 1998).

(27) "Pertarungan Golkar 'Hitam' dan 'Putih'", op. cit.

(28) In June 2001, Gus Dur was impeached by the MPR and was succeeded by VicePresident Megawati. The vice-presidency became vacant and was contested. At the end, Akbar Tanjung and Hamzah Haz of the PPP were the two last candidates who survived. But eventually Akbar was defeated by Hamzah as many Golkar MPs refused to vote for Akbar.

(29) The information was provided to me by a leading political observer in Jakarta.

(30) "Akbar Terpojok, tapi permainan belum usai", Tempo, 2 December 2001, pp. 20-21.

(31) "Buloggate I" refers to the Abdurrahman Wahid affair which led to his downfall.

(32) See Marzuki (2001, p. 10). But Marzuki did not identify the group.

(33) "Golkar Lama dalam Partai Baru",Tempo, 14 December 2003, p. 30.

(34) Ibid.

(35) "Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia No. 23 Tahun 2003 Tentang Pemilihan Presiden dan Wakil Presiden", Bab XIV, Pasal 101. The law was issued on 31 July 2003.

(36) Amien-Siswono gained 14 per cent of the vote while Hamzah-Agum secured only 3 per cent.

(37) Derwin Pereira, "Race for Golkar's top post crucial for President", Straits Times, 27 November 2004.

(38) "Mereka Berlomba Memanjat Puncak Beringin", Kompas, 16 December 2004.

(39) The correct translation is (National) "Promoters Council"; it is often incorrectly translated as "Advisory Council". But during the Soeharto time, it was actually the council that determined the party personnel and Golkar policy. The chairman was Soeharto himself. Therefore I translated it as "Supervisors Council".

(40) "Akbar's manoeuverings fail to turn the tide", Straits Times, 20 December 2004.

(41) "Jusuf Kalla Ketua Umum Partai Golkar", Kompas Cyber Media (KCM), 19 December 2004.

(42) "Agung Laksono Batal Digandeng Akbar Tandjung", Tempointeraktif, 18 December 2004; "Setelah 40 Tahun, AD/ART Golkar Berubah di Munas Bali", Tempointeraktif, 18 December 2004.

(43) It should be noted that after the October 2004 presidential election, Yudhoyono formed his cabinet and included at least four Golkar members, namely Jusuf Kalla (Vice-President), Aburizal Bakrie (Coordinating Minister for the Economy), Purnomo Yusgiantoro (Minister for Energy and Natural Resources) and Fahmi Idris (Minister of Manpower and Transmigration). See Jakarta Post, 21 October 2004. Some Golkar leaders were unhappy as they wanted to have more cabinet positions. During the first cabinet reshuffle (7 December 2006), Yudhoyono appointed Dr Budiono (who was the Finance Minister during the Megawati cabinet) to be the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, replacing Aburizal, but Aburizal was kept in the cabinet and served as Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare replacing Alwi Shihab (PKB). During the second cabinet reshuffle on 9 May 2007, Agung Laksono (Deputy Chairman of Golkar) insisted that Golkar should be given more cabinet positions but Golkar eventually managed to gain one more cabinet seat. The credit went to Laksono, not Kalla (Sebastian 2007).

(44) "Mengokohkan Watak Kebangsaan", Suara Karya, 17 November 2006.

(45) "Pergeseran Kekuatan Partai" Lingkaran Survei Indonesia, 29 March 2007; also cited in Ghani (2007).

(46) "The finding that the largest co-efficient of religion is found for Golkar may indicate that Golkar may have been perceived as more Islamic than the parties which officially declared themselves to be such", see Ananta, Arifin and Suryadinata (2004), p. 371.

LEO SURYADINATA is Director of the Chinese Heritage Centre and Adjunct Professor, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Table 1
Indonesian Election Results, 1971-97
(Percentage of votes cast)

Party     1971    1977    1982    1987    1992    1997

Golkar   62.80   62.11   64.34   73.16    68.1   74.51
PPP      27.11   29.29   27.78   15.97    17.0   22.43
PDI      10.09    8.60    7.88   10.87    14.9    3.06

SOURCE: Suryadinata 1998, p. 199.

Table 2
Results of the 1999 Parliamentary Election

                                  No. of
Party               Percentage     Seats

PDI-P                   33.73       153
Golkar                  22.46       120
PKB                     12.66        51
PPP                     10.72        58
PAN                      7.12        34
PBB                      1.94        13
Other 42 parties         11.4        33
Total                  100.00       462

SOURCE: Suryadinata 2002.

Table 3
Results of the 2004 Parliamentary Election

                                    No. of
Party                 Percentage     Seats

Golkar                   21.58       128
PDI-P                    18.53       109
PKB                      10.57        52
PPP                       8.15        58
PD                        7.45        57
PKS                       7.34        45
PAN                       6.44        52
PBB                       2.62        11
PBR                       2.44        13
PDS                       2.13        12
PKPB                      2.11         2
Others (13 parties)      10.24        11

SOURCE: Komisi Pemilihan Umum.

Table 4
Results of the First Round of
Golkar General Chairman Election

Name of Candidate      of Votes

Akbar Tandjung            147
Wiranto                   137
Aburizal Bakrie           118
Surya Paloh                77
Prabowo Subianto           39

Source: Tempo, 3 May 2004, p. 18.
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Date:Aug 1, 2007
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