Almost all political parties are New Order leftovers

Source – October 18, 2003
Political observer Max Lane (Koran Pembebasan)
Political observer Max Lane (Koran Pembebasan)

Anindhita Maharrani, Jakarta – Cleaning up the New Order [regime of former President Suharto] is truly a super difficult job. Basically, almost all of the political parties at the moment are leftovers of the New Order who more or less have the same mentality.

“Reformasi has been able to succeed in opening up the democratic space but it has not yet given birth to parties which are truly and genuinely reformist”, said social and political observer Max Lane from Murdoch University in a discussion titled “The Battle to Win the 2004 Presidency”, which was organised by Presidential Candidate Watch at a cafe in Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta on October 18.

Max added that almost all of the parties and their leaders are sill influenced by the politics of the New Order. “As long as this is the situation, an election, whatever the electoral laws are, will not result in a government which is prepared to carry out reformasi”, he said. Max raised the question about one of the requirements to be nominated as a presidential candidate, that they must be more than forty years old. According to Max, this is a form of prohibition since none of the generation who struggled against the New Order are able to become presidential candidates.

“I prefer the younger generation, [people] like Dita Indah Sari (chairperson of the People’s United Opposition Party, POPOR). Her party failed the process of verification, but even if they had succeeded, she could not have become a presidential candidate because of her age”, said Max.

Additionally, according to a survey of organisations which was carried out by Judilherry Justam, of those who are known as enemies of the New Order, only two political figures can be said to be untainted by the New Order, that is [parliamentary speaker] Amien Rais and [Bung Karno Nationalist Party leader] Eros Jarot. Meanwhile, although President Megawati Sukarnoputri and former President Gus Dur can be included as figures who are untainted by the New Order the were also members of the loyal opposition because they were members of the People’s Consultative Assembly and People’s Representative Assembly during the New Order. (nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]