Jakarta. People's Consultative Assembly speaker Bambang Soesatyo made the surprise decision to drop his bid for the chairmanship of the Golkar Party on Tuesday, only hours before the party's national congress elects a chairman.
His decision will pave the way for current chairman Airlangga Hartarto to get reelected.
"For the sake of Golkar's solidity and unity, I've given up my candidacy to become a Golkar chairman," Bambang said after a meeting with Airlangga and two other top Golkar executives.
The meeting was organized by veteran Golkar powerbroker Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is also the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment.
Also present in the meeting at Luhut's office was former Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie.
The Golkar Party had faced a prospect of a heated two-horse leadership race in the congress as Bambang and Airlangga continued to trade barbed words.
In an interview, Bambang accused the Airlangga camp of attempting to win reelection without counting votes in the upcoming congress.
He also criticized Airlangga for appointing inexperienced House of Representatives debutants to crucial positions in its commissions.
A group of Bambang's supporters even asked Airlangga to surrender his top post in Golkar on the grounds that as the coordinating minister for the economy, he is too busy to manage the party.
By way of riposte, Airlangga pointed out that in barely two years under his leadership, Golkar had already become the party with the second most number of seats in the House after April's election.