How Did Golkar Contribute To Assessment Answer

Answer:

Indonesia was one such country which was under the dictatorship of one person for more than thirty years named Suharto until he left the chair in the year 1998 which marked a very important reform for the country. This marked the introduction of the democratic type of politics which was for the people, by the people and of the people. It emphasized upon casting the power to the various states rather than concentrating it to the centre thus focussing upon decentralization of power. Post stepping down of Suharto from the power, Golkar was one such political party which emerged as the strongest in Indonesia amongst the others[1].


The New Order came into action in the year 1966 when Indonesia’s first president ended up endangering the economic scenario of the country by cutting off all its ties with the West. It is Suharto New Order Government which proposed to bring a reform into the existing political system by ensuring it to reunite again by joining hands with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations and the World Bank. He further moved towards cutting down of inflation and concentrated his efforts towards recovery of the economy of Indonesia which had almost died. Within two years, Suharto succeeded in ensuring price stability, investments in big lots thus ensuring that the economy resulted in double digit. The New Order concentrated more towards bringing stability in the economic conditions of the country. The export had also seen significant rise. However the economy had again suffered during the fall of the price of oil which it eradicated by concentrating upon exports and introducing a new law for taxing non-oil products and deregularizing the banks. However everything that seemed to be perfect with the New Order has its own negativities to address. The biggest problem which the citizens faced was that Suharto missed the human touch in its rule. Gradually it became more of an autocratic kind of a party wherein even though the poverty level had reduced significantly yet the people were not allowed to raise their voices. They were not involved into any political or economical decision and hence if anybody even tried to raise their voices were subdued by Suharto by introducing unacceptable restrictions. Fortunately the country fought to come out of the shackles of Suharto after three decades[2].

The Golkar party which existed then also, gradually became powerful as its infrastructural background of the party, its decisional self sufficiency and the relation which the party has maintained with the masses is remarkably noticeable. Due to more cohesive structuralisation, Golkar is ranked above available alternatives. However due to some glitches in its structure the party failed to achieve expected results in its general elections in the year 2004.

It came as a surprise to the Indonesian politics that Golkar although couldn’t continue with the unreal support which it had got during the New Order, yet it did not fade away with the situations and chose not to be a part of the pages of political history of Indonesia. It rose and fought and managed to grab a share of 22 percent during the first post-Suharto elections held in the year 1999 securing a second position. After the same the party did not sit back and rather chose to become one of the most sought after political groups of the country by adhering to various parliamentary rules and regional elections. [3]

The Golkar party however was a major participant of all elections that have been held in Indonesia till date. Even though it failed to gain the advantages which other political parties had got with regards election campaigns but the very motto of ensuring stability, security and development of the country made it popular amongst the masses which is very similar to what was proposed by Suharto’s New Order. Suharto had supported the oligarchs and the business men and helped them to grow large and the Golkar party also helped in the survival of the oligarchies[4].

On 16th May 2016, the Golkar Party came to power at least for the next five years which is the beginning of a new era from the institutional view point. This party is a united one who knows how to deal with internal frictions with ease. It won the elections with more than fifty percent votes. Indonesia saw the democracy prevalent between the parties as well through which pervasive influences were shown prior to and following the 2014 presidential elections.  The political scenario was very dynamic in Indonesia, even then the elections were performed in a fair and more transparent manner. There was professionalism in the election campaigns conducted[5].

There are two pragmatic concepts which explain the survival of the New Order and the contribution made by Golkar Party for the same. First and foremost is how well the Golkar Party succeeded in cementing the fragments that were there within the party by embracing the situations and easing down the fire and appreciating the work and efforts of the losers of the 2014 presidential elections However the victory of Setya Novanto clearly talks about the strengthening of the oligarchic system internally as well as externally[6].


The new leader has been noticed to act as a political agent who acts as a linkage between the interest of the businessmen with that of the government in power. Before Setya was associated with Golkar as a politician, he has been known as a business man. It has also been found that the new oligarch was the man behind the allocation of business projects by utilization the National Budget of the country. He was earlier the treasurer of the party for nearly twenty years which shows a clear cut evidence of his oligarchic associations.  He has used his power to mint in money for the party’s benefit as well as for boosting up his own political career[7].

Secondly, after the fall of the Suharto party the concept of ‘board of patrons’ was prohibited in total which the Golkar Party is seen reinstating the same. Further the Party agreed that the same should be led by Aburizal as the head of the ‘board of patrons’. This was one of the striking notions adopted by the congress after Setya won the election which clearly shows its contribution to the survival of the New Order.

It is the responsibility of both the board of patrons as well as the central executive board- one led by the business man and the other by the political leader cum business man to nominate candidates for the legislative as well as executive houses. Unlike the Suharto reign where due to autocratic rule, Suharto was the sole person who had the power to take decisions until its decline in the year 1998 under the New Order, the present Golkar party do not have the veto to dissolve the central executive board. Thus it exists only for its name but the entire power has been vested into the hands of Aburizal- the business tycoon who has the authority to drive the politics between Golkar and the other political parties and the economic bodies [8].

The tycoon was eyeing at the chairmanship of the Party and had even invested huge sums in the Party but however could not procure nomination for the president’s seat. However via this method he presumes that he would be able to get back his power, money as well as good luck of winning the general elections in the next term. This clearly proves that Indonesia can never be divorced from the political parties who are being commandeered by these oligarchs [9].

Therefore after the re-introduction of the board of patrons it became very clear that the entire political system and the policies will be driven by these business magnates so that they can benefit by driving the policies in their favour.  This clearly shows that Golkar’s picturesque view of democracy was more of a dream[10]. 

Thus on summarizing the contributions made by the Golkar Party for the survival of the New Order, it is very evident that democracy can never exist in Indonesia. The political wheels of the country were always driven by the business houses and are still driven by them. The only difference is that Suharto’s era saw sole authority of him and he never allowed the rise of anybody else. However in the said case the contribution may be short lived in nature as the method of choosing the leader of Indonesia has shifted its base to a more democratic style.  Thus in order to win in the next elections the Party will have to rethink about its present scenario. The representation style has changed from the past but the outcome remains the same.

References:

atimes.com. (2016). Golkar Party to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s government. Available at : https://atimes.com/2016/01/golkar-party-to-back-indonesian-president-widodo/ [Accessed 16th August 2016]

Budi, A. (2016). Golkar Party and the survival of oligarchy. Available at: https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2016/05/19/golkar-party-and-the-survival-of-oligarchy.html [Accessed 16th August 2016]

Dewi, E.A. (2016). Golkar to collect billions from each chairman candidate. Available At : https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/04/21/golkar-to-collect-billions-from-each-chairman-candidate.html [Accessed 16th August 2016]

Heriyanto, D. (2016). Q & A: Sink or sail? What’s ahead for the Golkar ship under diehard captain Setya Noanto?. Available at : https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2016/05/23/qa-sink-or-sail-whats-ahead-for-the-golkar-ship-under-diehard-captain-setya-novanto.html [Accessed 16th August 2016]

Indonesia-investments.com. (2016). Reformation ;New Challenges and Changes for Indonesia. Available at : https://www.indonesia-investments.com/culture/politics/reformation/item181 [Accessed 16th August 2016]

Kinadi, B. (2013). The Legacy of the New Order Regime and the Islamist Challenge in Indonesia’s Democratic Consolidation. Available at : https://dra.american.edu/islandora/object/auislandora%3A10373/datastream/PDF/view [Accessed 15th August 2016]

Stott, D.A. (2014). Indonesia’s Elections of 2014: Democratic Consolidation or Reversal?.  The Asia-Pacific Journal. Vol. 12. No. 10

Tomsa, D. (2008). Party Politics and Democratization in Indonesia- Golkar in the post- Suharto era. Routledge: New York

Vogt, B. (2014). The Path to Civilian Rule in Burma Goes Through Indonesia. Centre for National Policy. Available at : https://cnponline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/The-Path-to-Civilian-Rule-in-Burma-Goes-through-Indonesia.pdf [Accessed 15th August 2016]

Warburton, E. (2016). The business of politics in Indonesia. Available at : https://www.insideindonesia.org/the-business-of-politics-in-indonesia-4 [Accessed 16th August 2016]

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