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Cablegate: West Nusa Tenggara: Vice President's Fingerprints On Another

VZCZCXRO3651
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0082/01 1921044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101044Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0250
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0131
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0236
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0255
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0131

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000082

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KISL KIRF ID
SUBJECT: WEST NUSA TENGGARA: VICE PRESIDENT'S FINGERPRINTS ON ANOTHER
GOLKAR DEFEAT

SURABAYA 00000082 001.2 OF 002


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Incumbency has proved to be more of a
millstone than an advantage for the once preeminent Golkar Party
in a series of gubernatorial elections across Eastern Indonesia.
On July 7, West Nusa Tenggara witnessed the fifth and most
recent defeat for an incumbent Governor, in this case supported
by Golkar and the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle.
Corruption in Governor Lalu Serinata's administration, a revolt
in his own party and a popular challenger in cleric Zainul Majdi
helped tip the balance. The challenger was endorsed by the
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Crescent Start Party
(PBB). An anti-incumbent mood and strong support from Lombok's
majority Muslim population were the keys to victory according to
local sources. End Summary

2. (SBU) The Golkar-supported incumbent lost the West Nusa
Tenggara (NTB) Governor's race July 7 to a 36 year old cleric
supported by two Islamic parties. For the Golkar Party this
brings the total of recent Golkar provincial losses to five:
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Java, South Sulawesi and North
Maluku. Rumored behind-the-scenes support from Vice President
Jusuf Kalla allowed incumbent Lalu Serinata to run as Golkar's
candidate, despite open revolt by local Golkar cadre. Early
returns show that challengers Zainul Majdi and Badrul Munir --
endorsed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Crescent
Star Party (PBB) -- received 37 percent of the vote. The
incumbent, Lalu Serinata and Husni Djibril -- supported by
Golkar, Party of Democratic Struggle for Indonesia (PDIP), the
Reform Star Party (PBR), and the Patriot Party -- came in second
with 28.68 percent. Systemic problems with administration of
the election will be covered septel.

Corruption Cost Golkar
------------------------------

3. (SBU) The Chair of NTB's Indonesian Hindu Association, I
Gusti Lanang Media, told Congen Surabaya that many Golkar cadres
in NTB were lukewarm at best about nominating incumbent Lalu
Serinata and his involvement in a well-publicized corruption
case didn't help. Lalu Serinata was brought in for questioning
repeatedly by provincial as well as national prosecutors
regarding his alleged involvement in embezzling Rp 25 billion
(USD 2.7 million) while he was chairman of NTB Parliament from
2001-2003. Days after being chosen as Golkar's candidate for
reelection, he was summoned by the National Prosecutor's office
for questioning in the case. Vice President Jusuf Kalla (also
Chairman of National Golkar) reportedly did not waver in his
support for Lalu Serinata, despite local opinion and the clouds
gathering over the governor's mansion. Mr. Nasihudin, Personal
Secretary to the Governor-elect, told Congen Surabaya that
National Golkar in Jakarta had transferred Rp. 10 billion (USD 1
million) to NTB Golkar three days prior to election.

Local Culture Was Decisive
-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Prosperous Justice and Crescent Star Parties
married their strategy to local culture. Their nomination of
Muhammad Zainul Majdi, a charismatic young cleric from a famous
Islamic boarding school, represented hope for change in the
province. According to local media and Congen Surabaya sources,
this approach was in sharp contrast to the business-as-usual
style adopted by Golkar. Majdi's PKS and PBB supporters made
use of the existing leadership role held by Majdi as a teacher
or Tuan Guru in Lombok. Mr. Nasihudin told Congen Surabaya that
Majdi prevailed because of voter disgust with corruption coupled
with a deep respect for Majdi as a Tuan Guru capable of setting
things right. Seen from a political perspective, by visiting
rural villages and giving public sermons on moral issues over
the course of the past 10 years, Majdi had built up a wide base
of support and developed name recognition and popularity
throughout NTB's villages. According to Nasihudin, Governor
Lalu Serinata rarely visited the villages and when he did he was
escorted by policemen and bodyguards.

Introducing NTB's Governor Elect: Muhammad Zainul Majdi
--------------------------------------------- --------------
------------------

5. (U) Tuan Guru Muhammad Zainul Majdi, was born in Pancor, East
Lombok, NTB, on May 31, 1972. He is the third son of Siti Rauhun
Zainuddin Abdul Majid, the leader of Nahdlatul Watan Pesantren.
Majdi studied at his father's pesantren until he left for

SURABAYA 00000082 002.2 OF 002


studies in Egypt. He earned a Master's degree in Koranic
Studies from Al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2000. He was
Rector of the Institut Agama Islam Hamzanwadi in Pancor, East
Lombok, and in 2004 was named chairman of NTB Nadhlatul Watan
and member of Commission X of DPR- Jakarta. Majdi is married
and has three daughters and one son.
MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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