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Gloomy outlook for Aburizal, Golkar: Survey

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THEJAKARTAPOST.COM – A survey has revealed that Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, who is seeking reelection in the party’s upcoming congress, is least likely to win the race for the chairmanship and the party faces a struggle in the 2019 general elections.

In its survey released on Thursday, the Poltracking Institute found that eight candidates tapped to contest the party chairmanship were deemed “mediocre”, scoring only between four to six points on the scale of 1-to-10. The survey, conducted from Nov. 3 to 11, asked 173 experts to give ratings to the candidates on 10 parameters used.

“There’s nothing exciting about the candidates. The scores are mediocre when we compare them to chairmanship candidates in other parties. Golkar will be doomed in 2019,” said Poltracking researcher Agung Baskoro. 

The survey found that the majority of respondents deemed that all candidates, including incumbent chairman Aburizal, did not have the capacity to be good leaders for the party.

Former House of Representatives deputy speaker Priyo Budi Santoso topped the list with an average score of 6.51 points, followed by senior party executive Hajriyanto Y. Thohari with 6.31 points.

Golkar deputy chairman and former coordinating people’s welfare minister Agung Laksono received 6.03 points and former industry minister MS Hidayat received 5.99 points.

Lawmakers Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita and Airlangga Hartarto received 5.8 and 5.73 points, respectively. Second from bottom was Aburizal with 5.61 points, performing slightly better than lawmaker and former head of the party’s East Java provincial chapter Zainuddin Amali, who received 4.98 points.

But there was some success for Aburizal in the “capability to lead a coalition” section, with him receiving a high score of 6.49, trailing only Priyo with 6.70 points.

Aburizal also did well in the “capability to lead a party” section, scoring 5.90 points, and the “elite communication” section, scoring 6.42 points.

When expert respondents were asked to identify their least preferred candidate from the eight individuals, 52.03 percent opted for Aburizal. Agung performed much better, receiving disapproval from only 7.32 percent of the respondents.

Among the 10 parameters used in the study, integrity and track record were considered by 39.23 percent of respondents as the most important virtues for a political party chairman. 

The survey also showed 34.85 percent of respondents believed a party’s top priority should be improving its accountability and transparency, while 31.82 percent demanded regeneration in the party’s chairmanship.

The 173 experts interviewed for the survey have qualifications in the fields of sociology, politics and humanities. They are academics who hold at least a master’s degree and senior researchers in research institutes.

Another Poltracking researcher, Arya Budi, said Golkar needed to get its act together to prepare for the 2019 general elections.

“Golkar needs to transform from a legislative-oriented party to an executive-oriented party that can nominate a strong figure in the 2019 presidential election. Politically, Golkar is lauded as a party with strong infrastructure, but the party always fails to nominate strong candidates in presidential elections,” Arya said.

Priyo said he was happy with the study. “This study, however, does not reflect my true chances of winning the race, because the experts are not the ones voting,” he said.

Golkar’s statute stipulates that to be elected chairman, a candidate must garner support from a majority of 547 available votes that represent the party’s central board and its branches, chapters and affiliated organizations at a Golkar national congress.

Infighting in Golkar has intensified ahead of the chairmanship election, which is scheduled for January 2015.


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