Fri, 19 Mar 1999

Golkar loses 19% of members in Jakarta

JAKARTA (JP): The ruling Golkar has lost some 19 percent of its 1.6 million members in the capital, party secretary Fatommy Asaari said on Tuesday.

According to Fatommy, many of the 300,000 ex-Golkar members had joined other parties contesting the June 7 general election.

However, he did not disclose any possible reasons why the members would choose to leave Golkar for another party.

"There are also reports that some of the 300,000 have returned to their hometowns after being hit by the prolonged economic crisis or being fired from their workplaces," Fatommy said.

He was, however, still optimistic about the future of the party and predicted that Golkar would win about 35 percent of the total ballot in Jakarta in the June 7 election.

"We're optimistic that, like in previous years, about 45 percent of new voters here will choose Golkar," Fatommy said.

During the 1997 general election, Golkar won 64.9 percent of the vote in the capital.

Golkar had 39 city councilors on the 75-member city council.

The rest of the seats were shared by the PPP, which won 20 seats, the PDI, which had one seat, and the Armed Forces, which was allocated the remaining 15 seats.

During the Soeharto regime, there were only three officially recognized parties: Golkar, PPP and PDI.

The upcoming general election will be contested by 48 political parties, including the three parties from Soeharto's reign. (ind)