If the elections fail, the New Order will benefit

Kompas – October 9, 2003
General Elections Commission member Juri Ardiantoro (CNN)
General Elections Commission member Juri Ardiantoro (CNN)

Jakarta – The assessment by number of groups is that the 2004 general elections represent a critical period, where it is hoped that a political transition towards democracy will occur. Although the chances of the democratic process succeeding or failing is equal, if the 2004 elections fail to result in a process of political transition, the forces of the New Order [regime of former President Suharto] will benefit.

This was the conclusion of a discussion which was held by Nahdlatul Ulama’s Association of Voices of Justice and the Study Institute for Human Resources Development at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES) in Jakarta on Wednesday October 8.

“Like the 1999 elections, the 2004 elections represent a ‘stake’ for the political transition towards democracy. The opportunities for the success or failure of the elections are the same. If it fails, the New Order forces will benefit because society, which is disappointed [in the present government], will want them to return to power”, said Jakarta General Elections Commission member Juri Ardiantoro.

As well as benefiting the New Order forces which are driven by the [former state ruling party] Golkar, the military and the conglomerates, the failure of the 2004 elections could result in widespread social disorder and the possible emergence of religious fundamentalism.

“This disappointment and apathy is common in politics. However it could become a problem if is then expressed in destructive acts, said Juri.

Golkar could ascend

Meanwhile, the results of a survey by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) which were announced on Wednesday, said that in the 2004 elections the Golkar party will obtain an increase in votes from 22.43 per cent to 30.7 per cent.

This represents the results of a LSI survey between August 1 and 20 which randomly questioned 2240 respondents in all of the provinces in Indonesia except Aceh.

Golkar’s closest rival, [President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s] Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has experienced a reeducation in the number of votes from 33.73 per cent to 20.8 per cent. The National Awakening Party [founded by former President Abdurrahman Wahid] (PKB) has followed with a decline from 12.6 per cent to 10.8 per cent. This was followed by the [parliamentary speaker Amien Rais’] National Mandate Party (PAN) dropping from 7.11 per cent to 5.1 per cent of the vote.

“If the elections were held today, it is predicted that Golkar would be placed in the first position, pushing aside PDI-P. Meanwhile the [position of the] other parties would not change much compared with the 1999 elections. The conclusion is that if the elections were held today, the parties which have slogans of reform would fail. Conversely, the Golkar party, which is symbolized by the old spirit will indeed rise again”, such were the results of the survey.

It was also explained that on the other hand, Islamic voters will not automatically choose parties with an Islamic flag. Most Islamic voters will give their vote to the Golkar party and PDI-P. However if the Islamic parties such as the Crescent Star Party (PBB), the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) and the United Development Party (PPP) fused into one, their votes would be more than Golkar. (win/INU)

[Translated by James Balowski.]