Editorial: We Must Rise Above Culture of Dirty Politics
There is no doubt much gleeful cackling and hand-rubbing among Indonesia’s political constellation as the nation witnesses what is arguably the most important party in its history tear itself apart.
The Golkar Party is the second-biggest in the House of Representatives, and the biggest in the opposition coalition, which makes it the biggest prize for those trying to seize control of the legislature. If indeed the rift has been engineered by the pro-government coalition, as some suggest, then it is with dollops of irony that the grand old party is today crumbling under a tactic that it used so ruthlessly, and so effectively, against the opposition during the New Order era.
But love Golkar or hate it, this is not the time for schadenfreude. Golkar is, by any measure, a controversial party stacked with controversial figures. We can debate its track record on corruption and human rights, and we may not sympathize with it — but we do sympathize with the Indonesian people and the fact that they have to sit through this episode of dirty politics, on display from those outside the party as much as by those within.
Could rival chairmen Agung Laksono and Aburizal Bakrie have done more to bridge their differences? Certainly. Could the government have allowed more time for both sides to exhaust their legal options before picking a side? Yes. Should the opposition and pro-government coalitions have eased up their own pressure as they pursued their own interests? Definitely.
All of the stakeholders, it seems, have shown remarkably little good sense throughout this sorry episode.
There’s little the public can do — until 2019, that is, when those who really count go to the polls and make known once and for all that we’re tired of all these political shenanigans.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe