Indonesia’s Oldest Party Picks a Shaked…

Golkar, Indonesia’s oldest political party, has just elected as its chairman a man who was caught on tape in mid-November attempting to shake down Freeport McMoRan for 20 percent of the US mining giant’s Indonesian shares under a divestment scheme. He is Setya Novanto, 60, who was driven from the speakership of the House of Representatives because of the scandal. Elected in a vote at 3 am on May 17, his elevation appears to dash any hope for reform of the party, once called one of the world’s most corrupt. The opacity that enmeshes Golkar is emblematic of the opacity of the entire Indonesian political process. Eighteen years after the strongman Suharto was forced to relinquish control of the party he had created, the game continues. The campaign for leadership of the 575 delegates has been the focus widespread bribery.

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