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Cablegate: South Sulawesi: Jusuf Kalla Picks His Gubernatorial

VZCZCXRO2579
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0057/01 2910332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180332Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0079
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0071
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0022
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0020
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0081

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000057

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KISL KCOR ID
SUBJECT: SOUTH SULAWESI: JUSUF KALLA PICKS HIS GUBERNATORIAL
CANDIDATE, BUT WILL THE VOTERS LISTEN?

REF: SURABAYA 39

SURABAYA 00000057 001.2 OF 002


Portions of this message are sensitive but unclassified. Please
protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 15, Vice President and Golkar
National Chairman Jusuf Kalla strongly urged Golkar elites in
South Sulawesi to support incumbent Amin Syam and his running
mate Mansyur Ramly in the November 5 gubernatorial elections.
Public reaction has been negative, suggesting that the public
may not be inclined to follow instructions in the first direct
gubernatorial elections in South Sulawesi. Local observers
commented to us that Kalla will use all of the tools at his
disposal to get his choice elected in what is really an
experiment in party mobilization before the 2009 presidential
election. End Summary.

NEPOTISM OR CAPABILITIES?
-------------------------------------

2. (U) According to local Makassar daily Fajar (a Jawa Pos
company), Vice President Jusuf Kalla told local Golkar cadres to
vote for incumbent Amin Syam in the November 5 gubernatorial
election. In a closed door meeting with Golkar elites on
October 15, Golkar Party National Chairman Kalla reportedly
urged participants not to have any doubts about Golkar's
candidates, noting that his brother-in-law Mansyur Ramly was
Amin Syam's running mate. Kalla reportedly told the audience
made up of regents and mayors from throughout South Sulawesi
that he had already instructed his companies Kalla Group and
Bosowa Group to help Amin Syam and Mansyur Ramly win the
election.

3. (SBU) Reaction to Kalla's reported instructions to "vote for
Amin Syam" were greeted with dismay by readers of Fajar online,
who expressed disappointment about Kalla's decision to take
sides in the gubernatorial election. They complained that he was
being neither neutral nor democratic. Hasbi Abdulla, Director
of the Legal Aid Institute (LBH), told the Consulate that his
informal poll of the "grass roots" suggested that the population
was most disturbed by Kalla's statements urging members to vote
for a family member. Kalla was perceived as supporting these
candidates because of nepotism, not because of capability or
personality.

EXPERIMENTATION WITH DIRECT ELECTIONS
--------------------------------------------- ------------

4. (SBU) Sukriansyah, Editor of Fajar, told Consulate Surabaya
that the public has long known that Kalla firmly supported Amin
Syam and Mansur Ramly and would use his economic "power" to
insure his choice wins. He observed, however, that Kalla's
support may be less influential in this first direct election.
Sukriansyah explained that Kalla understand the realities of a
direct election where parties have less influence and thus had
no choice but to publicly support Amin Syam. According to
Sukriansyah, Kalla will go all out to ensure victory for Amin
Syam as an "experiment" on how to mobilize Golkar voters to
support his own potential candidacy for president in 2009.

5. (SBU) Hasbi Abdulla agreed with Sukriansyah's assessment of
the uncertainties surrounding a direct election. He said,
"People are smarter than before. They might vote for anybody
they like despite the fact that political elites have directed
them to vote a certain way." Pointing to the 2004 presidential
election as illustrative, Hasbi observed that President
Yudhoyono was an unknown politician from a small, new political
party, and the people voted for him.

BUGIS VOTE
-----------------

6. (SBU) Hasbi suggested that Kalla will also try to draw on
his Bugis ethnicity to persuade voters to select Amin Syam.
Both Kalla and Amin Syam are considered "real" Bugis, as
compared with "Bugis Makassar." In contrast, Amin Syam's most
formidable competition Syahrul Yasin Limpo, the current vice
governor, is a Bugis Makassar. His running mate, Agus Arifin
Nu'man, is a real Bugis.

7. (SBU) Kalla's recent statements that there would be an "all
Golkar final" in the gubernatorial election reflects the fact
that Amin Syam, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, and Agus Arifin Nu'man are
all current or previous Golkar cadres and still support Golkar
ideology (see reftel). From Hasbi Abdulla's perspective,
Syahrul's biggest competition for the governor's office is not

SURABAYA 00000057 002.2 OF 002


Amin Syam, but Jusuf Kalla.
MCCLELLAND

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