The Golkar Party has set an ambitious target to win 30 percent of the votes in the 2014 legislative election, but analysts say that might not be enough to propel its chairman, Aburizal Bakrie, to the presidency.
Tantowi Yahya, a Golkar member of the House of Representatives, said during the weekend that the party was confident about its prospects in the upcoming elections, given its performance in a slew of recent surveys.
“It’s not just the results from the LSI survey that place Golkar out front,” he said, referring to a poll published last week by the Indonesian Survey Circle.
“All surveys show Golkar in the lead. This indicates the political reality today.”
The LSI survey of some 1,200 respondents showed that 20.9 percent would vote for Golkar, compared to 11.3 percent for the ruling Democratic Party.
The results were a reversal from an identical poll carried out by the LSI in January 2011, in which the Democrats led with 20.5 percent to Golkar’s 13.5 percent.
Tantowi said that his party’s continued rise reflected the growing public approval of Golkar from the national to the regional level.
“Our target for the upcoming elections is to win 30 percent of the votes, and God willing we will achieve that,” he said.
Golkar won just 14.4 percent of votes in the 2009 election, while the Democrats led with 20.8 percent.
While the 30 percent target will more than meet the 20 percent minimum required for the party to nominate its own presidential candidate, analysts contend that Golkar’s chairman and presumptive nominee, Aburizal, does not have the popularity to go the distance.
Sukardi Rinakit, a researcher at pollster Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate, said that historically, the person who went on to win the presidency was always far more popular than their party.
This, he argued, was how the personality paradigm worked in Indonesian politics, where a party’s popularity was the direct result of its members’ popularity, and not the opposite.
“History shows that it was always the great figures who raised up their parties,” Sukardi said.
“Granted, Golkar’s got a high rating now, but it will be difficult to translate that into support for Aburizal.”
He cited the examples of Sukarno and Suharto, the country’s first two presidents, whose personalities overshadowed the popularity of their respective parties.
He also argued that the only reason the Democrats were popular was because of their figurehead, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Several recent polls on possible presidential candidates have placed Aburizal behind other more prominent figures, including Prabowo Subianto of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Jusuf Kalla, a former Golkar chairman.