Internal Tribunal Fails to Settle Ongoing Squabble for Golkar Leadership
Jakarta. The rift dividing Indonesia’s oldest political party, Golkar, continued to widen as two rival factions drew different interpretations of a verdict issued on Tuesday by Golkar’s internal tribunal concerning the party’s dual leadership.
Two of the four judges in the tribunal, Andi Mattalatta and Djari Marin, have declared the executive board chaired by former chief welfare minister Agung Laksono as Golkar’s legitimate leaders.
Judges Muladi and Natabaya chose to remain neutral, saying the ongoing tussle over the party’s leadership should be settled in a court of law.
Choosing to accept the more favorable response, Agung’s faction “welcomed” the tribunal’s decision and said it would report the results to the Justice Ministry — which had also suggested that the factions bring the matter to court.
“Tomorrow [Wednesday] morning we will register [our executive board] with the Justice Ministry. We hope this will immediately validate [our leadership],” Agung told reporters after the tribunal hearing at Golkar’s headquarters in West Jakarta.
The Central Jakarta District Court last month threw out a lawsuit filed by Agung and his followers that sought to have the party’s Bali congress, where incumbent Aburizal Bakrie was re-elected for a second term, deemed invalid.
A separate congress held in Ancol, North Jakarta, saw anti-Aburizal party members elect Agung as chief in early December, mere days after the Bali event.
The Central Jakarta District Court on Feb. 2 ordered the feuding factions to first resolve their dispute through an internal tribunal, until which time the court had no authority to hear the lawsuit.
The West Jakarta District Court last week rejected a separate lawsuit filed by Aburizal’s faction against Agung’s leadership claims, issuing a similar ruling.
Aburizal’s supporters have appealed to the Supreme Court.
Bambang Soesatyo, the treasurer of Aburizal’s faction, claimed the congress had resulted in a draw and no one had won Golkar’s chairmanship.
“The Ancol camp did not win. The result was a draw, so the tribunal is suggesting both parties to settle the matter in court,” Bambang said.
The ongoing conflict was triggered by last April’s legislative elections, in which Golkar finished second behind the Indonesian Democratic party of Struggle ( PDI-P), a longtime political rival.
Golkar then failed, for the first time ever, to get a single name on a ticket in the presidential ballot in July.
Agung’s camp blamed Aburizal’s leadership for both failures, particularly his insistence that no one but he be allowed to stand as the party’s presidential candidate. Aburizal then drew further ire from the party ranks by endorsing former Army general Prabowo Subianto, who eventually lost to the PDI-P’s Joko Widodo.
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