Golkar leader paves way for rival to lead party

Golkar leader paves way for rival to lead party
Golkar chief Aburizal Bakrie.

The camp of Aburizal Bakrie has paved the way for his rival, Agung Laksono, to take full of control the Golkar Party, while President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will soon sign a presidential regulation to legalize Agung's leadership over the country's second-largest faction at the House of Representatives.

Golkar lawyer Yusril Ihza Mahendra acknowledged that Aburizal had instructed him to drop the lawsuit against Agung at the West Jakarta District Court, despite Aburizal's repeated statements that he would never give up the party post to Agung. The lawsuit was registered on March 5.

"It's true, it [the lawsuit] was withdrawn yesterday," the former law and human rights minister told Tempo on Tuesday. He did not elaborate on the reason behind Aburizal's surprising decision.

Lawrence Siburian from Agung's camp welcomed the decision. "It means that [Aburizal's] camp wants reconciliation."

Aburizal expressed his intention on March 11 to file a complaint against Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly for a decision to recognise Agung's leadership at the Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN).

On the same day, the business tycoon also reported Yasonna to the National Police's Criminal Investigations Directorate (Bareskrim) for alleged abuse of power by favouring Agung.

The faction has also filed a police report against Agung and several other opposition party members for alleged document forgery.

After the report was filed, Bareskrim chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso said that he had formed a special team to investigate the Golkar case.

National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said it would be better for Aburizal's faction to take the case to the PTUN.

"Of course we will still study the reports, but in our experience such reports are more suited to the PTUN," Rikwanto said.

Yasonna revealed on Monday that the President would soon issue a presidential decree (Perpres) to legalize Agung's leadership of Golkar.

"In the near future, the Perpres will be issued," the minister said at the State Palace on Tuesday.

Agung has promised to join Jokowi's Great Indonesia coalition and leave the Red-and-White Coalition.

Meanwhile, in securing full control over the Golkar Party, Agung has rearranged the party's management, rooting out supporters of his rival but keeping some who are willing to switch sides.

Representing Agung, Lawrence registered the party's new management, which is comprised of 377 individuals, the largest board in the party's history, at the Law and Human Rights Ministry's General Law Administration (AHU) office on Tuesday.

Although the majority of the board involves those considered Agung loyalists, around 35 individuals are former supporters of the losing Aburizal camp who have jumped ship to the winning faction to pave the way to leadership positions within the party, according to Lawrence.

Some of Aburizal's former supporters who have joined Agung include, among others, lawmaker Mahyudin, who is currently a deputy speaker at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR); lawmaker Fayakun, who was a deputy secretary-general of the Aburizal camp; lawmaker Airlangga Hartarto; and Rully Chairul Azwar, a former head of the Aburizal camp's health and environment division.

Agung has maintained Mahyudin in his current position at the MPR, while Fayakun has been installed as the secretary of the Golkar faction at the House replacing lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo, a staunch critic of Agung and his loyalists.

Besides Bambang, the Agung camp has also closed the door to other die-hard critics of the winning faction, including lawmakers Ade Komaruddin, Aziz Syamsuddin, who chairs House Commission III, and Rambe Kamarulzaman, who chairs House Commission II.

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