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Cablegate: New Political Group Sings Old Song

VZCZCXRO3744
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #0141 0330744
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020744Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4406
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000141

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
NSC FOR D. WALTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ID
SUBJECT: NEW POLITICAL GROUP SINGS OLD SONG

REF: A. JAKARTA 1699
B. JAKARTA 2052 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified. Please
handle accordingly.


2. (U) While some pundits see new "mass organization"
National Democrat (ND) as a challenge to President Yudhoyono,
his Partai Demokrat members (PD) are saying its establishment
is good for Indonesia's democracy. Media magnate and Golkar
member Surya Paloh launched the political group February 1.
Leaders of the group included Jogjakarta Governor Sultan
Hamengkubuwono X, rector of Paramadina University Anies
Baswedan, and former chair of Muhammadiyah Syafii Maarif.
Approximately 12,000 people (many of whom were paid) attended
the launch, including prominent political, academic and
religious leaders such as Partai Demokrat's Deputy Chair,
Ahmad Mubarok. The group's stated purpose was to establish a
"mature" democracy that is focused on improving the people's
welfare.

CHALLENGE TO SBY OR SIGN OF A FLOURISHING DEMOCRACY?

3. (SBU) Some commentators see ND as a sign that the
Indonesian elite are dissatisfied with Yudhoyono's reform
record to date. ND takes a page from President Yudhoyono's
play book by imitating the colors, theme song and rhetoric of
his successful Partai Demokrat. PD members do not see the
new group as criticism, however-- its Deputy Chair remarked
that ND has "a similar vision for the nation" and that
competition is good for its democracy.

4. (SBU) Although ND is apolitical, many pundits are
speculating that Paloh (defeated in his October bid for
Golkar chair) is testing the waters for a 2014 presidential
election run. Parliamentarian and PD member Ramadan Pohan
told Poloff that the new movement is a good thing for
Indonesia, and that even if the movement turns into a
political party down the road, it will not challenge PD:
"This group is too focused on the elite. To win the
elections you have to win the hearts of the people in the
villages, not Jakarta." PD, he said, is focused now on its
upcoming leadership contest in May, which will determine the
future of the party.
HUME

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