Setya may lose Golkar control despite pretrial win
Golkar has agreed to oust Setya or allow him to resign Golkar will hold a plenary meeting on Monday to appoint Airlangga
To willingly give up the chairmanship or be forcibly ousted are the two options given to Golkar Party Chairman Setya over the fate of his leadership of the second biggest party in the country.
After the South Jakarta District Court ruled in favor of his pretrial motion on Friday, Setya now must face another trial: one by Golkar’s executive board and its 34 provincial leaders who will vote to determine the fate of his leadership on Monday.
The majority of these party elites appear to have agreed that Setya must relinquish control of the party and have concurred that his pretrial victory would not necessarily get him off the hook as the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) investigation into the high-profile procurement of e-ID cards continues.
“Setya’s pretrial motion has nothing to do with Golkar,” Golkar executive chairman Nurdin Halid said on the sidelines of Golkar’s national meeting in Jakarta on Friday. “The legal process [of Setya] is his personal business [...] We will still evaluate his leadership.”
Nurdin made his remarks only hours before South Jakarta District Court judge Cepi Iskandar annulled Setya’s suspect status in the e-ID graft case.
Despite the pretrial ruling, KPK investigators may at any time in the future issue another decision to name Setya, who is also the speaker of the House of Representatives, a suspect in the case.
Meanwhile, at the residence of party elite Airlangga Hartarto, who is also the industry minister, several party elites gathered to discuss “necessary measures to take to save the party.”
Head of Golkar’s political, legal and security affairs division, Yorrys Raweyai, confirmed the elites’ Friday meeting, saying that he was one of the participants, in addition to Airlangga himself.
Yorrys, who was appointed head of the team to save the party from sinking, explained that the meeting participants agreed on two things: to oust Setya and to appoint Airlangga as acting chairman until 2019 when Golkar plans to select a new chairman.
“The political process regarding his [Setya’s] leadership status has nothing to do with the legal process regarding his graft suspect status,” Yorrys said.
“No matter what, he has to either voluntarily resign his position or be forced to do it,” he added.
Yorrys, one of the most outspoken critics of Setya, argued that it was inevitable for Setya to give up control of Golkar, since his alleged role in the high-profile e-ID graft case had negatively impacted Golkar’s electability.
Another Golkar team assigned to further scrutinizing the party’s sinking image has found Setya’s alleged role in the e-ID scandal to be the key factor in Golkar’s declining electability. Another factor is the party’s support for then Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama in his gubernatorial bid.
Two pollsters the team recently consulted with — the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) and Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) — have found that Golkar’s electability has tumbled to below 11.6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, this year.
Golkar is set to hold a plenary meeting on Monday to finalize measures to anticipate the deteriorating party image, including the appointment of Airlangga to temporarily take over control of the party from Setya until 2019, rearrangement of the party’s management and changes to its political stance on some issues.
The party has delegated its Honorary Council head, Aburizal Bakrie, to persuade Setya to voluntarily step down.
Setya repeatedly used his deteriorating health to escape the KPK’s calls into questioning. He recently attracted nationwide attention after a picture of him lying in a room believed to be at a hospital went viral, prompting netizens to spot irregularities in the image.
But his health condition appeared to backfire, with the party’s Youth Movement Group (GMPG), which is led by Ahmad Doli Kurnia, suggesting that Setya give up the leadership seat in order to focus on his health.
Invalid: Judge Cepi Iskandar leads a hearing on Friday of a pretrial motion requested by House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto to challenge the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) decision to name him a suspect in the e-ID graft case at the South Jakarta District Court. In the court’s ruling, Cepi said Setya’s suspect status was invalid because a suspect could only be named at the end of an investigation.