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Golkar chairman hopes for 30% of vote in Indonesia polls SOLO - Indonesia's upcoming parliamentary election is expected to be a very tight race between the ruling PDIP and Golkar. Golkar Chairman Akbar Tandjung told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview that his party is fighting to be number one, although he acknowledged this will be tough. He hopes Golkar can garner one third of the votes.
Mr Akbar also described his presidential rival within Golkar, former Armed Forces Commander Wiranto, as a strong and serious contender. Mr Akbar's campaign got off to an exciting start in Solo, Central Java. The former ruling party Golkar is going for 30 percent of the votes come 5 April, up from 24 percent in 1999. Mr Akbar says it is quite a realistic target. He told Channel NewsAsia he plans to tour all provinces in Indonesia in 21 days of campaigning.
Rival PDIP had scored 34 percent of the votes in 1999 and that can change. Here in Solo, where effervescent politics is all Javanese elegance, Golkar was trounced by the PDIP in the last election, which took place after former president Suharto's downfall. Golkar was Mr Suharto's instrument of all-encompassing authoritarian power. "I want to ask, is our economy is better now than 10 years ago? Not at all. Poverty has worsened and more than 30 million people are poor, am I right" Mr Akbar said.
In 1999, only 200 Golkar supporters turned up for the rally; now Mr Akbar boasts that thousands are here. Golkar supporters, he says, are also no longer afraid of wearing yellow in public. Mr Akbar and telegenic wife Nina, who was born in Solo, hope to hit the right political notes, and he says he will not settle for the vice presidency. His wife says he has a political calling.
Mr Akbar's rival in the party is former Armed Forces Commander Wiranto, whose alleged human rights abuses could set him back. "I think he's quite strong, Wiranto; he's quite serious," Mr Akbar said. Asked if he felt he could beat Mr Wiranto, he said, "Of course, I'm quite optimistic. You know, I'm the chairman of Golkar. I'm much experienced as a politician. I was active as a politician since I was very young, when I was a student."
Mr Akbar had his guilty verdict for corruption charges overturned recently. He says corruption in Indonesia has become worse under the current government.



Posted in Elections @ 16 March 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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