Friday, August 28, 2009

Suharto Clan Making a Move

Analysts say that the irrepressible Suharto family was courting its former bedfellow, the troubled Golkar Party, for a possible comeback. A string of recent political events involving the two amounts to a “testing of the waters” for possible re-entry into politics, analysts said. After keeping a low political profile since Suharto stepped down in 1998, members of the dynasty are now back in the news headlines.

Suharto’s youngest son, Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, speaking through an aide earlier this month, raised eyebrows when he floated his candidacy for the chairmanship of Golkar. In a second instance related to Suharto’s family, a young rising Golkar figure, Yuddy Chrisnandi, held meetings with Tommy and his eldest sister, Siti Hardiyanti “Tutut” Rukmana, to drum up support for his own play for the Golkar throne.

Political analyst Ikrar Nusa Bakti from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) believed that both Tommy and Tutut were testing public reaction over the possibility of a return to political life. Tutut and another Suharto sibling, Bambang Trihatmojo, had previously been active on Golkar’s executive board, while Tommy served as a member of the Golkar faction in the People’s Consultative Assembly from 1992 to 1997.

The Suharto clan still exerted substantial influence among Golkar elites, and recent moves indicated Tommy and Tutut were testing the party’s reaction.

by Febriamy Hutapea
Excerpt from The Jakarta Globe

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