Golkar Will Never Go Away
By N Mark Castro
By the time President Soeharto left the presidency, most everyone thought that the political party that had been closely identified with him — Golkar — would forever be in the dustbin of history.
And for a time it was, scrambling for internal power struggle, redefining itself to the electorate, while leveraging its dwindling influence to achieve political relevance. Golkar’s eventual rise is as dramatic as any Indonesian sinetron full of backroom deals, power play, and people’s support.
But, like him or not, Golkar Party — under the stewardship of Aburizal Bakrie — has sailed through the political environment with much more savviness than all other parties combined. They were able to stall presidential actions, leverage their power to get their desires, and be a contender that could influence policies, and shape voters.
Aburizal Bakrie, indeed, is a polarizing political figure. There’s no in-between with the guy. Either you like him or you don’t. What you can never discount is that, as a political animal, he has sashayed in political hallways with amazing political backroom deals with pinpoint accuracy.
He knew where he stood in the Indonesian electorate.
He waded the political waters, and when he knew it was too deep for him to swim on — lest he be swallowed, he decided to segue into becoming a kingmaker.
Indeed, some would argue he was too late in coalescing with other parties that they may field their own presidential candidate — him.
Other political commentators even said he’s done for.
Ah, but therein lies the rub.
You don’t become, at one point, the richest man in the land, beat the naive investor Rothschild in his own backyard, rise to the most influential political party in the land without ever being elected, and be a thorn to the incumbent president, if you didn’t a Machiavellian knowledge of Indonesian politics.
What most everyone failed to appreciate was that Golkar still ended up with 91 legislative seats, enough to become the swing vote in any legislative deliberations, to continue become a thorn to any administration, or a partner in any nation building decision.
That’s the power Golkar has. That’s the power Bakrie wields.
And now he’s supporting Gerindra’s presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
What’s In It For Him?
Can you imagine what the Bakrie Group can do with even 10% of that?
Are we accusing Bakrie Group of any illegal activities?
Of course not. The Bakrie Group has — from time to time — assisted any administration in nation building.
Is it wrong?
This section does not deal with right or wrong answers. That’s up to the electorate.
This section deals with politics: the art, the science, both the devil and the angel.
Come 9th of July, Indonesia decides.
190 million voters, 4 million election officials, 17,000 islands, 700 languages, 6 hours to fly across 3 time zones.
Ah, what a time to be alive!