Fri, 22 Dec 2000

Government no longer effective: Golkar Party

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's second largest political party, the Golkar Party, in its year-end reflection on Thursday fired a broadside at the government which it described as an ineffective administration and incapable of resolving the nation's problems.

Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung said on Thursday that President Abdurrahman Wahid's administration seemed oblivious to resolving the many pressing issues, and that while it was democratically elected the government "is starting to lose its legitimacy."

The waning credibility of the government, according to Akbar, was mainly caused by poor management and Abdurrahman's own controversial style.

Despite his stinging criticism, Akbar maintained that Golkar would always adhere to constitutional means in launching any opposition.

"As a political party, Golkar would listen to the people's aspirations, but it would always conduct its stance constitutionally," Akbar, who is also Speaker of the House of Representatives, said.

Akbar said the government as a whole during 2000 has not shown significant achievements in various fields.

The progress in the political spectrum, such as democratization and press freedom, was actually a continuation of programs launched by the past government, he argued.

"Based on those various aspects, until the end of the year, the government's performance is still far from people's expectations," he remarked.

Asked whether Golkar would give "a deadline" to the government to improve its performance, Akbar replied that the party will wait for eight months until the annual session of the Assembly in August.

Referring to talk of an impending Cabinet reshuffle after the new year, Akbar said Golkar would reject offers for seats in the government if the president does not change his management style.

He said a Cabinet reshuffle, if it does occur, would only display how the president failed to thoroughly review his initial selection.

"But we would consider the offer...let it be decided by the president whether to reshuffle or not. But our target is the 2004 (general election) not now" he insisted.

Akbar claimed that the party is consolidating itself in all levels from national executives to leaders in districts and villages to prepare for the 2004 election.(jun)