Golkar party chairman and graft suspect Setya Novanto. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Golkar Leadership Has No Plans to Replace Party Chairman and Graft Suspect Setya Novanto


NOVEMBER 15, 2017

Jakarta. Political party Golkar remains solid and there is no plan to replace chairman Setya Novanto despite him having been renamed a graft suspect in the ongoing corruption case surrounding the procurement of electronic identity cards, known as e-KTP, a party official insisted on Tuesday (14/11).

Antigraft investigators are rebuilding a strong case against Setya, who was declared a suspect last week in the e-KTP case.

Calls are reportedly growing for Setya to step down as chairman of Indonesia's second-biggest political party amid fears over its declining approval ratings.

Golkar deputy treasurer Zulhendri Hasan, playing down the concerns, said: "The calls for the stepping down is something common, and part of party dynamics."

There has been no intention by the Golkar board of regional leadership to decide on Setya's fate through an "extraordinary" national leadership meeting, Zulhendri said.

A national leadership meeting is staged every five years to appoint a party chairman. Under Golkar's internal bylaws, the extraordinary meeting can be held if the party is "under threat or facing a compelling situation" and if approved by two-thirds of the boards of leadership across Indonesia's many provinces.

"The fact is that until now, the boards of regional leadership are still solid. So there's no reason for such a replacement," Zulhendri said. "It will be different if he steps down voluntarily."

The House speaker stands accused of allegedly receiving Rp 574 billion ($42.38 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion procurement project and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

He was first named a suspect in July in the graft case that resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.

He was acquitted of graft charges in a verdict in September after filing a pretrial lawsuit with a Jakarta court that decided his suspect status was "procedurally flawed."