This Facebook conversation among Jakarta-based expats offers a guide to the Parliamentary election on April 9th. The Presidential election will be held on July 9th and only those political parties which, alone or in coalition, garner 20% of votes polled will be eligible to nominate candidates for the Presidency.
These are some of the presidential candidates if …
AB: “Looks like Abzul is farting.”
KY: This is a photo from April 2004 (about six years after Suharto quit). The occasion was Golkar’s convention to choose a presidential candidate. In the first round of voting, the results were: Akbar Tandjung 147 votes, Wiranto 137 votes, Aburizal Bakrie 118 votes, Surya Paloh 77 votes, and Prabowo Subianto 39 votes. This led to a run-off vote between Akbar and Wiranto – and Wiranto emerged victorious with 315 to 277 votes. So that year he was Golkar’s presidential candidate and he lost, badly. In 2009 he ran for the vice presidency (as Jusuf Kalla’s running mate) and lost, badly.
Surya Paloh tried and failed to become Golkar’s leader. So he split and formed his NasDem Party. Wiranto failed with Golkar so formed his Hanura Party. Prabs failed with Golkar and left to form Gerindra. Meanwhile, Akbar Tandjung and Barkrie remain in Golkar and are still squabbling. Yet Golkar remains popular because of its well established provincial/regional networks. Expect PDI-P to win this year’s election, closely followed by Golkar and Gerindra.
SP: I expect PDI-P to take it. Golkar’s share of the vote has steadily declined in every post-Soeharto election though, dipping under 20% last time out (this is just from memory) and I can’t see the rot stopping with Bakboy, who’s hardly setting the electorate on fire. In my view the fact that the yellow blazers even continued to exist after 1998 speaks of reformasi’s almost total failure. I think it’s instructive though for local chaps and chapesses to remember where all these “bright shining future” types cut their teeth.
MJM: Can you fill in us dumb fucks on the content?
KY: In 1999, Golkar came second with 22.4% , then in 2004 it came first with 21.58%. Yes, in 2009, it slumped to 14.45% (still good enough to come second) – but Partai Demokrat dominated that year. In 2014, Partai Demokrat will be lucky to get 10% – so will be interesting to see whether its supporters go to Prabowo or Golkar or PDIP. Golkar is way more popular than Bakrie – whereas Prabowo is more popular than Gerindra.
SP: Golkar won 14% in 2009
KY: Aye – see my comment above. Golkar in 2009 lost that 8% to Partai Demokrat. May regain some of it this year, but PDI-P likely to gain more.
SP: All a farce really.
KY: Endy Bayuni (senior editor of the Jakarta Post) put it nicely: The year oligarchs try to steal democracy from the people.
SP: “They are so alike in their centrist platforms that the only way voters can tell them apart is
through the different personalities of the people, or the political families, who control them.”
Exactly. No actual policy/manifesto issues* will sully the election as per usual. Just like US elections. Clinton turned the Democrats into moderate Republicans and saw his victory as a ringing endorsement of the push for the “centre” ground. Well hardly, seeing as voter turn outs dipped under 50% of the electorate. I expect a similarly low turnout this year in Indonesia, unless Mega does the decent thing and lets Joko run. It would be the best thing as he’d save the under-threat Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and align himself with them.
Can’t rely on Mega decency though, as she’s a disgrace in my view, and has all the political acumen of a tub of lard.
MJM: Best political nutshell I have read in years.
SP: Even Jokowi though, he’s just a lone guy. He doesn’t have the oomph of an actual mass movement behind him, some kind of coalition of trade unions and NGOs, for example, coz none exists. He’s a people’s candidate only in so far as the people’s input into actual democratic participation be limited to ticking a box once every five years. No what he has behind him is the PDI-P machinery with its ludicrous paramilitary youth wing in rose-coloured combat fatigues and regal matriarch. We don’t have to wonder if they’ll be as corrupt as SBY’s Democrats as they already had one crack at ruling the post-Suharto roost between 2001 and 2004 and they were shit. Indeed their poor performance was the main reason the desperate populace turned to a pompous, superannuated ex-New Order hack like Yudhoyono in the first place. My hopes aren’t high, as with Obama and his “change”.
Comment re party programmes: the usual pro-business, farmers, rakyat, Islamic values, Pancasila, blah, blah ….
Moreover, an Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) survey showed that only 7% of 6,561 legislative candidates for the 2014-2019 period included the environment in their strategic plan agendas. Of the 7%, most were not included as “the big three candidates” on the ballot numbers, limiting their chances to be elected to the House
And most of the 7% belong to the National Awakening Party (PKS) … which has not been the ‘clean’ party it set out to be five years ago.