The victory of Setya Novanto in the Golkar chairmanship race may not be good news for the party.
Fresh from a bitter internal rift that lasted almost two years, Golkar’s choosing of Setya at its extraordinary congress in Bali marks the party’s return to its origins as the government party, or the ruling party, a role it played during Soeharto’s New Order.
Born as the government’s resistance to political and social crises caused by the multi-party system under Sukarno, Golkar initially comprised non-partisan mass organizations coordinated by the military under Guided Democracy.
The 1965 tragedy brought down Sukarno and wiped out the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), a major political party at that time, and catapulted Golkar, the anti-political party, to power.
The party had been prepared as a political vessel for Soeharto, who was seeking to participa...