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Golkar-Gerindra tie-up in the offing

GETTING POPULAR: Mr Prabowo's Gerindra party won 11 per cent in the recent election.
Golkar-Gerindra tie-up in the offing

LESS POPULAR: Mr Aburizal's Golkar party took 14.3 per cent in the recent polls.


    May 07, 2014

    Golkar-Gerindra tie-up in the offing


    GOLKAR and the Gerindra Party appear to have moved closer to forming a coalition, with the two party leaders holding a private meeting on the outskirts of Jakarta on Monday.

    After playing host last week, Golkar chairman and presumptive presidential candidate Aburizal Bakrie visited Gerindra chief patron Prabowo Subianto on Monday at the latter's private residence in Bogor, West Java.

    Mr Prabowo, Gerindra's presidential candidate, embraced Mr Aburizal upon the latter's arrival before the two held a meeting behind closed doors.

    However, the two presidential hopefuls did not reach any agreement at the meeting, Gerindra deputy chairman Fadli Zon said.

    "But (we made) further developments from the first meeting last week," Mr Fadli said after the meeting, as quoted by Antara news agency.

    Mr Fadli said a possible deal could only materialise after the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the final results of the April 9 legislative election.

    Results from various quick counts show that in the polls, Gerindra garnered 11 per cent of the vote while Golkar received 14.3 per cent.

    Both trailed the Indonesian Democratic Party - Struggle (PDI-P), which scored about 19 per cent of the votes.

    All the parties fall short of the 25 per cent of the popular vote required to nominate a presidential candidate under the Presidential Election Law.

    If Gerindra and Golkar decide to join forces, Mr Aburizal could be named a presidential candidate, given Golkar's stronger performance in the legislative election.

    However, his position in his own party is precarious, with some Golkar politicians considering endorsing former chairman Jusuf Kalla as the running mate of PDI-P presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

    Mr Aburizal is also less popular than both Mr Joko and Mr Prabowo.

    Mr Joko has led opinion polls so far, but Mr Prabowo's appeal has been strengthening, analysts say.

    "In March, Jokowi's electability reached 56 per cent, while Prabowo's was 27 per cent. But in April, Prabowo surged to 36 per cent, Jokowi dropped to 52 per cent," Sirojudin Abbas, a researcher at Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, told The Jakarta Globe.

    Charta Politika political analyst Yunarto Wijaya predicted that if the Golkar-Gerindra coalition comes to pass, Mr Prabowo could likely be its presidential nominee.

    "In the presidential election, the primary factor is not the electability of a party, but its figure. Prabowo's advantage is his popularity, while in Aburizal's case it is his party, Golkar," he said.

    Mr Yunarto said Mr Aburizal could run into trouble if he was willing to run as a vice-presidential candidate to Mr Prabowo.

    "He would face opposition during the upcoming Golkar national leadership meeting, which will decide the fate of Aburizal and Golkar's political stance," he said.