(From Reuters)

The leader of Golkar, Indonesia’s second-largest political party, says his party will lend support to President Joko Widodo’s government, potentially making it easier to pass legislation by giving it a majority in the house of representatives, news Website Detik reported on Sunday.

Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie (right) talks with party veteran BJ Habibie during the party's national leaders' meeting at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday
Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie (right) talks with party veteran BJ Habibie during the national leaders’ meeting at Jakarta Saturday

The move, which falls short of an actual agreement to join the government’s minority ruling coalition, was announced by Golkar leader and powerful tycoon Aburizal Bakrie during the party’s extraordinary national leaders’ meeting at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday.

At the meeting, Bakrie urged party leaders to close ranks. “Let us all reunite based on the spirit of friendship for the integrity of our beloved party,” he said before hundreds of party members.

“Another problem that should be solved is our position related to the President Jokowi,” Bakrie was quoted as telling a party meeting on Saturday. “As a political power, Golkar was not born to be in opposition.

Joko Widodo
Joko Widodo

“To side with President Jokowi’s power, we participate with progressive power,” he added, using Widodo’s popular nickname. “Our goal is to participate.”

Golkar, which controls nearly 15% of seats in parliament, has been embroiled in a leadership dispute for months.

Bakrie, patriarch of the family-owned Bakrie Group conglomerate, backed defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the presidential election in late 2014.

Disgruntled party members mounted a bid to oust him when Golkar, the political vehicle of former authoritarian ruler Suharto, failed to make it into government for the first time ever in the last election.

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