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Cablegate: Golkar's Political Machine Apparently Fails in South

VZCZCXRO4492
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0072/01 3170928
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130928Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0105
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0095
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0043
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0041
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0107

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000072

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, INR/EAP, DRL/PHD, INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KISL KCOR ID
SUBJECT: GOLKAR'S POLITICAL MACHINE APPARENTLY FAILS IN SOUTH
SULAWESI

REF: A. SURABAYA 57

B. SURABAYA 39

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This message is sensitive but unclassified please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Consulate General Surabaya Pol/Econ Officer,
Pol/Econ Assistant and two Political Officers from Embassy
Jakarta observed the first direct gubernatorial elections in
South Sulawesi Province on November 5. The apparent defeat of
incumbent Amir Syam by his Vice Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo
shows that the much vaunted Golkar political machine can be
beaten -- even if by less than one percent of the vote. The
result may also signal a dent in Jusuf Kalla's previously
unquestioned supremacy in South Sulawesi. Syahrul's star has
risen very quickly in South Sulawesi politics, and his apparent
election as governor suggests he may represent a local power
center capable of challenging Kalla's network. It is likely
that the loser will challenge the results after official results
are announced November 16. End Summary.

Syahrul Yasin Limpo Claims Victory
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) While the official results of November 5 gubernatorial
election in South Sulawesi will not be announced until November
16, local media reports that challengers Syahrul Yasin Limpo and
Agus Arifin Nu'mang have defeated incumbent Amir Syam and his
running mate Mansyur Ramly by a narrow margin (less than 1%).
Syahrul's apparent victory suggests that Golkar's political
machine failed to rally voters despite Vice President Jusuf
Kalla's well-publicized call to reelect Amir Syam and Mansyur
Ramli, Kalla's brother in law (Ref A). Syahrul, the current
Vice Governor, and his running mate, Agus Arifin Nu'mang, house
speaker of the South Sulawesi DPRD and former Golkar Secretary,
received support from National Mandate Party (PAN), Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and a selection of smaller
parties. As predicted by observers, the voters took advantage
of the opportunity offered by the first direct elections to vote
for their preferred candidates rather than follow party commands.

3. (SBU) According to press reports November 13, with 22 of 23
regencies/cities results confirmed, of 3.8 million votes cast,
Syahrul Yasin Limpo and Agus Arifin Nu'mang received 1,431,544
votes; Amin Syman and Mansyur Ramly received 1,405,144 votes;
and Abdul Aziz Qahhar Mudzakkar and Mubyl Handaling were a
distant third with 749,042 -- a margin of victory of just 0.7%.
The Chairman of South Sulawesi election commission (KPU) refused
to comment on the press reports but told ConGen Surabaya that
the KPU would announce the results after completing a complete
count and "recapitulation" of results from the regencies/cities
on November 14. On November 16, the KPU would officially
announce the results and appoint the new governor and vice
governor of South Sulawesi.

What Does It Mean?
------------------------

4. (SBU) Wahyuddin Halim, a lecturer at the Islamic Univesity of
Alauddin in Makassar, told the Consulate November 13 that most
observers believe that Syahrul won. Wahyuddin observed that
Amir Syam's defeat was a failure of Golkar's political machine.
He explained that Golkar was overconfident and relied too
heavily on a bureaucratic network with a long tradition of
corruption. Crediting the efforts of Prosperous Justice Party
(PKS) cadres rather than Golkar cadres for the majority of votes
for Amir Syam, Wahyuddin said Golkar's campaign funds were
corrupted at the kabupaten (regency) level. Wahyuddin added
that many observers saw the results as a blow to Jusuf Kalla's
supremacy in South Sulawesi.

5. (SBU) Commenting on Syahrul's victory, Wahyuddin said the
results were both positive and negative. Syahrul is supported
by a younger generation, suggesting that his administration will
be more dynamic, creative, open to new ideas, and less
bureaucratic. Judhariksawan, a lecturer in the Law Faculty at
Hasanuddin University, agreed that Syahrul's victory was
positive. He noted that as Vice Governor Syahrul played an
important role in the administration, including in the policy
making process, while Amin Syam's role appeared limited to
ceremonial functions. Wahyuddin cautioned, however, that
because of the number of parties and factions which supported
Syahrul's candidacy, power sharing may become a serious issue
for Syahrul's administration.

6. (SBU) With both Amin Syam and Syahrul claiming victory and

SURABAYA 00000072 002.2 OF 002


the margin of victory razor thin, it is likely that the final
results will be contested by the losing ticket. Amin Syam's
supporters will likely challenge the votes in the Gowa regency,
given that Syahrul was the former regent of Gowa. Similarly,
should Amin Syam win, Syahrul will likely challenge the votes in
the Bone regency, the home area of Amin Syam. Some observers
have also speculated that Jusuf Kalla will push the KPU to
investigate the results should Syahrul be declared the victor.
MCCLELLAND

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