Indonesia: Golkar may withdraw from coalition with Democrats

Updated On: Apr 27, 2009

Coalition talks between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party and the Golkar Party of Vice-President Jusuf Kalla have collapsed, a Golkar official said.

However, this announcement comes amongst a split between Golkar party officials who are undecided whether to form a coalition with President Yudhoyono or to nominate their own presidential candidate in the upcoming presidential elections.

Golkar's deputy chairman Marzuki Darusman said the decision to drop coalition talks with the Democrats as announced Wednesday did not represent the party's final stance.

He said the plan to form a new coalition was also a personal opinion from Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla.

“We fully respect Kalla’s position as party chairman. But there are many opinions within our party that the chairman is not the same with Golkar,” said Marzuki, who supports the  candidacy of  former party chairman Akbar Tandjung as running mate for Yudhoyono.

Golkar's senior lawmaker Priyo Budi Santoso said  there were still chances for reviewing coalition talks with the Democratic Party as the two parties share an equal ideology.

Golkar could also form a new coalition with other parties.

he Democratic Party is set to win the elections that took place on April 9 with about 20 per cent of the vote, while Golkar and the opposition Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri were tied at around14 per cent in early results. An official result of the vote count is not due until May 9.

Only parties, or coalitions of parties, that win at least 20 per cent of seats in the 560-member House of Representatives or 25 per cent of the popular vote may nominate candidates for the presidential election.

With a popularity rating at above 60 per cent, Mr Yudhoyono could win outright and avoid a run-off scheduled in September if no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote. His closest rival, Mrs Megawati, comes in a distant second in opinion polls.

The Democratic Party is likely to ally with the Muslim-oriented Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), currently in fourth position in vote counting with about 8 per cent. With its pivotal role, PKS is also setting its sights on the vice-presidential post.

The Jakarta Post, Golkar coalition disarray highlights party polarization, 23 April 2009, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/04/23/golkar-coalition-disarray-...

Today Online, Kalla-SBY talks break down, 23 April 2009,  http://www.todayonline.com/articles/315518.asp