The Functional Groups’ challenge in getting the #1 Party slot in 2024

Discussion themed “Who Deserves to Be on Top of the Banyan Tree?” held at Borobudur Hotel, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday (30/07/2019). (photo: IO/Ramdani)

IO, Jakarta – Functional Group (Golongan Karya – “Golkar”) Party’s Candidate General Chairman Airlangga Hartarto is deemed to consolidate all elements of Golkar during the 2019 Elections. Therefore, the Party’s Young Activist Network (Jaringan Aktivis Muda – “JAM”) gave him their full support for his re-election as Golkar’s General Chairman for the next five years. JAM Golkar Coordinator Rudolfus Jack Paskalis stated that Airlangga has been able to direct Golkar Party’s political machine within the 1.5 continuous political tsunamis suffered by the party due to the corruption perpetrated by high Golkar officials such as former General Chairman Setya Novanto and former General Secretary Idrus Marham.

According to the Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”)’s summary of the 2019 Legislative Elections, Golkar is in the third rank with 17,229,789 votes (12.57%), a marginal difference with the votes earned by the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party in second place (13.31% of votes) and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) (19.33% of votes). However, Golkar is the party with the second-highest number of seats in the Parliament, getting 85 seats in the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”). PDIP is the strongest party in the Parliament by getting 128 seats, while Gerindra is at the third place with 78 seats.

“Therefore, if there is an opinion stating that Mr. Airlangga Hartarto has failed to lead Golkar during the 2019 Presidential and Legislative Elections, that is not true. We need to appreciate his leadership – for a year and a half, he has led the Golkar Party to survive dire situations. Despite everything, he has managed to keep us all together,” he stated in the discussion themed “Who Deserves to Be on Top of the Banyan Tree?” held at Borobudur Hotel, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday (30/07/2019).

Jack stated that other than having the support of 85% of Golkar Party’s Regional Leadership Councils (Dewan Pimpinan Daerah – “DPD”), Airlangga has also received signals from the Palace. Golkar cannot be free from the blessings of the Palace, as Golkar’s General Chairman must be able to synergize with whoever the president is in maintaining development process for the next five years. “Mr. Jokowi also seems to be comfortable with Mr. Airlangga, who is a courteous man who never makes any political maneuvers,” he said.

PARA Syndicate Executive Director Ari Nurcahyo appreciates Airlangga’s success in returning Golkar back on track. He believes that Golkar has the strength to support the Government in the future. “During Airlangga’s leadership, the political spirit that we have left seems to have returned. Furthermore, as a minister, Airlangga firmly supports Jokowi. This feels as if Golkar has returned to its origins, its political spirit has returned. I think this is something we need to continue. After all, now that we are back on track, the great task is to maintain the train on this track for the next five years and more,” he said.

Ari further stated that Airlangga’s focus in his future leadership is the realization of Golkar 4.0. Airlangga has at least four homework chores to deal with: “First, the Golkar Party must unceasingly strive to become modern. Golkar as a leading party must quickly erase the stains of the past and prioritize legal processes and transparency. Second, within the next five years, Golkar must be able to join Jokowi’s Second Term Cabinet. Golkar must have a more significant role and deeper involvement in the Government. Third, Golkar must immediately prepare new cadres in order to optimize its advantage as the winning party. Golkar must be able to submit a Presidential Candidate for 2024. Fourth, Golkar must cement its unity and integrity by taking an optimistic but critical middle path,” he said.

Meanwhile, University of Indonesia’s Political Observer Ade Reza Hariyadi stated that Golkar’s challenge is more than just electing a new General Chairman. It is how to improve Golkar and turn it into the number one party by 2024. As the incumbent Golkar General Chairman as well as a minister in Jokowi’s cabinet, it would give Airlangga extra credit if he can accommodate Government programs in the future. “Mr. Airlangga has a pretty good chance for it,” he said. (Dan)