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Megawati seeks to regain power in Indonesia JAKARTA - Former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri is struggling for her reelection as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) that will pave the way for her presidential bid in five years to come. In the PDI-P national congress opened in Bali Monday, Megawati looked set to win majority of support despite a major setback in the party under her leadership.

The Jakarta Post newspaper reported Monday most of the party's regional branches had nominated Megawati for the top post and willlikely forward their wishes to the six-day congress, the highest decision-making forum in PDI-P. "Of the 441 regency branches across the country, there are hardly any that oppose Megawati," PDI-P secretary general Sutjiptowas quoted as saying. Last year's elections were a big disappointment to PDI-P, whichruled the country in 1999-2004.
In the 2004 legislative elections, PDI-P lost to arch rival Golkar, which became the political machine of long-serving president Soeharto while Megawati's presidential bid was shatteredby former key aide Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who won the presidency in a landslide. Megawati's sole rival in the PDI-P chairmanship election is younger brother Guruh Soekarnoputra, who is nominated by a group of senior party members called themselves as the reform movement. Detikcom online news service reported that 90 percent of nationwide branches have vowed support to Megawati.
Senior PDI-P politician Sophan Sophian and business tycoon Arifin Panigoro reportedly withdrew their nominations due to the lack of support and had publicly said they would back Guruh, better known here as a choreographer and composer. Guruh has claimed that he has won the support from a substantial number of the 1,800 delegates taking part in the congress. If reelected, Megawati would have a prerogative of individuallyselecting members of the central board, a party line strongly criticized by the reform movement for being undemocratic.
Megawati would also face challenges of turning back millions ofsupporters who left the party last year and became swing voters. Should she manage to do so, she would become a serious contender in the 2009 presidential election despite last year's defeat. PDI-P won the first democratic election held in 1999, one year after Soeharto and his New Order regime were ousted after weeks ofnationwide rallies against his authoritarian rule.
In 2001, then vice president Megawati was named president replacing Abdurrahman Wahid who was impeached by the People's Consultative Assembly for being incompetent. The congress in Bali is not the first rivalry among children offirst president Sukarno. In the 2004 presidential contest, younger sisters Rachmawati Soekarnoputri and Sukmawati Soekarnoputri were nominated as presidents by their respective parties to challenge incumbent Megawati, but fell short of winning a minimum threshold of the votes as a prerequisite in the presidential elections.



Posted in Politics @ 28 March 2005 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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