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'Golkar can win without bureaucracy'

Indonesian Observer - January 12, 1999

Jakarta – The ruling Golkar party's insistence that civil servants be allowed to join political parties is caused by a "sinking ship syndrome", because it sees the bureaucracy as its only lifeboat, says a political analyst.

Andi A. Malarangeng says Golkar should wise up and realize that it still has an abundance of resources that will allow it to win the June 7 general election,

The main problem is that Golkar worries it won't be able to get enough votes if civil servants aren't permitted to join political parties, he told reporters on the sidelines of a discussion on the political bill in Jakarta yesterday. "Golkar does not understand that it still has excessive funds, a solid network, and many figures," he asserted sternly.

Malarangeng, a member of Home Affairs Ministry's team that drafting the political law, said the government is now trying to persuade all factions that a "win-win" solution can be achieved.

He said Golkar has exerted too much energy in discussing the issue, and must realize it has plenty of options to attract voters. "This indicates that Golkar is lacking confidence," he said.

Many analysts predict that Golkar's most likely chance of winning the general election is by bribing or threatening voters, which it did in previous polls. In every election held since 1971, civil servants and their families were coerced to vote for Golkar.

District administrations were warned they would not receive any funds if their constituents failed to vote for the ruling party. Even senior students at state schools were told they would certainly fail their exams if they didn't select Golkar. Analysts say these sort of schemes imbued Indonesians with an acceptance of corruption and political manipulation.