Ruling Golkar backs Suharto for 7th term

No other figure for President, says party chief

INDONESIA’S ruling Golkar party has confirmed President Suharto’s nomination for a seventh term in office.

The national Antara news agency yesterday quoted Golkar chairman and House Speaker Harmoko as saying: “There is no name other than Pak Harto and it is final.”

The Indonesian leader, who has been in power for the last 30 years, is known popularly as Pak Harto.

Mr Harmoko’s comments followed earlier pledges that Golkar would back Mr Suharto for another term during the meeting of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in March next year.

The Golkar chief said at the party’s leadership meeting last month that the incumbent President was still “wanted by our people” for another term in office, as there was “no other figure”.

The president and vice-president are usually elected by acclamation by the MPR during a 10-day session in March once every five years.

Last month, Mr Suharto put to end months of speculation by indicating that he was prepared to lead the country for another term.

The 76-year-old President said last month that he hoped Indonesians would use the next five months from now to March to see if their confidence in his leadership stayed firm.

He said: “Without their confidence, it would be difficult for me to carry out the heavy task.

“Do the people still have confidence in me? If it proves not, it is no problem for me.”

Mr Harmoko, addressing thousands of Golkar supporters in Ponorogo, East Java on Wednesday night, said that the President had the support of all layers of society.

Analysts believe that Golkar’s reiteration of its backing for Mr Suharto was an attempt to respond to the President’s recent call.

One diplomat noted: “Mr Harmoko is telling the President that Golkar and most Indonesians are still behind him and he need not be concerned about a wavering in support.

“This public show of support for Mr Suharto is likely to increase in the next few months.”

The 33-year-old Golkar party is the country’s longest-standing party and has never nominated a presidential candidate other than Mr Suharto, who has been unopposed in all elections since 1972.

The influential Indonesian armed forces has also endorsed the long-serving President.

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