chapter  8
Uneven party institutionalization, protracted transition and the remarkable resilience of Golkar
ByDIRK TOMSA
Pages 23

Despite its pivotal role in Indonesian politics, the Golkar Party has been widely overlooked in most analyses of the country’s protracted transition to democracy. After finishing second in the 1999 elections, the former state party quickly consolidated its position in the post-New Order party system and eventually returned to the top of the voting tally in 2004, when it won the April election with 21.58 per cent. Just eight months after the polls, Golkar delegates elected Vice President Jusuf Kalla as their new party chairman, thereby further strengthening the party’s strategic position in Indonesia’s political system. For most observers, Golkar’s victory did not come as a surprise. On the contrary, the party had actually been expected to win an even larger share of the vote (LSI 2003), not only because of the widespread dissatisfaction with the Megawati administration, but also because Golkar was believed to possess the most efficient organizational infrastructure of all Indonesian parties.