Golkar dodges the big decisions, avoiding internal strife till 2014
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The Golkar Party has decided to play it safe in the 2014 presidential election by putting everything on hold until the results of the 2014 legislative election are made public.
Golkar executive Hajriyanto Y. Tohari said that all important decisions, including who would serve as running mate for Aburizal Bakrie in the presidential election, would be made shortly before that election.
“Since the beginning, there was no deadline for naming a running mate,” Hajriyanto told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
“But, it will probably be done in 2014. The most practical way is to wait for the result of the 2014 legislative poll,” he said.
Hajriyanto firmly denied reports that Golkar has decided to delay the decision to name the figure who will be paired with party chairman Aburizal.
He also denied speculation that a number of politicians have rejected the opportunity to join the Aburizal ticket as his ratings are sinking with every new opinion poll.
“I believe many figures are ready to be his running mate,” he said.
One politician rumored as Aburizal’s possible running mate is popular Constitutional Court Justice Mahfud MD.
Mahfud was rated as the second most capable presidential candidate in a November poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), garnering a favorable impression of his leadership ability from 74 percent of respondents.
Ironically, the highest rated politician in the same survey was Aburizal’s predecessor as leader of Golkar, Jusuf Kalla.
Golkar intends to have “flexibility and confidence” in naming candidates only after the 2014 legislative election’s result are known.
Hajriyanto said that Golkar is cautiously optimistic about its performance in the 2014 legislative election.
“There is no guarantee that we can meet the 20 percent presidential threshold,” he said. “Although most surveys show that Golkar could lead the competition.”
Opinion polls have regularly put Aburizal at the bottom of the list of most electable candidates, far below figures like chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Megawati Soekarnoputri, patron of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto, Mahfud and Kalla.
The study by the LSI last month did not include Aburizal on the list of 18 most-preferred candidates for the 2014 presidential election, in spite of Aburizal’s frantic media campaign to boost his popularity.
Golkar board of advisors has issued a six-month deadline for Aburizal to boost his electability.
The board’s chairman, Akbar Tanjung, said that if Aburizal failed to gain the public’s trust, he would have to annul the nomination in July 2013.
On Tuesday, Akbar denied the suggestion that he intended to cause rift within the party.
“There is not a single word from that could be used against Aburizal,” he said, as quoted by vivanews.com.
Akbar said that he was only acting on behalf of the party board of advisors and that the warning to Aburizal was a collective decision.
Political analyst Maswadi Rauf of the University of Indonesia (UI) said that Aburizal should stop alienating Akbar and should engage him in talks.
“If he wants to build Golkar, Pak Ical (Aburizal) should embrace Akbar and not treat him as his enemy,” Maswadi said as quoted by Antara.
He said that Aburizal could have asked Akbar to shore up support for his candidacy, given the popularity of Akbar among the grassroots activists of the party.
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