Corruption scandal now threatens Jokowi’s rule: analysts
JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN Desk) - Coalition partner could switch allegiance if graft-hit chairman is replaced
A corruption scandal whose bizarre twists have held Indonesians in thrall for months is now threatening to shake the foundations of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s rule.
The scandal centres on parliament speaker Setya Novanto, who for weeks evaded questioning over his role in the theft of $170 million of public money.
Setya is also the chairman of Golkar Party, which props up the ruling coalition led by Jokowi. But Golkar could now switch its allegiance to the opposition, depending on the outcome of the party’s moves to replace scandal-hit Setya with a new chairman.
Last Wednesday, Setya dodged a police raid at his home only to turn up in hospital the next day after being involved in a car crash. He was finally taken into custody on Sunday night, as pressure mounted within his party to hold an election to replace him.
Pangi Syarwi Chaniago of Jakarta-based Voxpol Centre Research and Consulting said a congress vote could result in the election of a new chairman who was unwilling to join the government’s coalition.
“We are unsure if Golkar will continue to support Jokowi. The party leadership can be won by any members of Aburizal’s faction,” Pangi told The Jakarta Post, referring to businessman Aburizal Bakrie, who in 2015 led a faction against Golkar member Agung Laksono, who supported Jokowi. Aburizal sided with the government’s opposition at the time, led by the Gerindra Party. “Any of the factions will surely propose their candidates [at the congress],” Pangi said.
Golkar deputy secretary-general Ace Hasan Syadzily said on Sunday that the party’s executive members would hold a meeting on Tuesday to respond to issues surrounding Setya’s case, including whether or not to hold a congress to elect a new leader as demanded by some party members.