Haeril Halim/Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sun, December 29 2013, 8:58 AM
The election of Ratu Tatu Chasanah as leader of the Golkar Party’s Banten chapter is key for her political dynasty to retain its clout in the province.
Her election will pave the way for the Serang deputy regent to become Banten deputy governor should her sister, Ratu Atut Chosiyah, the current governor, be dismissed and replaced by her deputy, Rano Karno.
Ratu Atut is now being detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on allegations that she helped bribe a top constitutional court justice in relation to an election dispute in Lebak regency.
Rano, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, has said that he is ready to replace Ratu Atut, who has as of today managed to retain her position despite her detention.
A political observer from Banten’s Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa University, Dahnil Anzar, said that Tatu’s victory had brought her closer to the position of deputy governor as it was the responsibility of the party’s chapter’s chairperson to name the person who would succeed Rano should Atut be officially dismissed.
“[Tatu’s election] shows us that Atut’s influence among Golkar politicians in Banten is still very strong,” he said.
“Atut’s family is trying to retain its control of the government in the province. Tatu’s new position has given her the authority to appoint herself as the deputy governor if Atut is removed.”
Held as part of Golkar’s Banten chapter’s extraordinary regional meeting (Musdalub), the race set Tatu against Cilegon Mayor Tubagus Iman Ariyadi to replace Atut’s late husband, Hikmat Tomet, who passed away last month.
Atut’s family’s web of power in the province had benefited the party since she became deputy governor in 2002, making the position of Atut’s family important for the Golkar Party.
Different members of Atut’s family control five of Banten’s eight regencies and municipalities, including Tatu; her sister-in-law, South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany; her stepbrother, Tubagus Haerul Jaman, who serves as Serang’s mayor; and her stepmother, Pandeglang Deputy Regent Heryani. All of them are Golkar politicians.
Responding to the speculations, Tatu said that she had not thought about the position of deputy governor as she still hoped that Atut’s case would not be brought to the court. “Don’t pray for bad things [for Atut],” Tatu said.
Meanwhile, Tatu did not deny her opportunity of becoming the deputy governor in the worst scenario should Atut’s case be tried in the future. “Yes, there is a possibility,” she said.
Golkar’s Advisory Council chairman Akbar Tandjung said that he would not want to speculate who would become deputy governor if Rano became governor. “It does not have to be [Tatu],” he said.
Prior to the Musdalub, Akbar was among party dignitaries who suggested that Golkar’s Banten chapter’s leadership should be kept away from Atut’s family members following Ratu Atut’s scandals, which had tarnished the party’s image in Banten.
“We have to learn from what Golkar has experienced. The experience teaches us lessons. The lessons should become our reference for [a better] future for the Golkar leadership. The party leadership in Banten gives political lessons to people in order [for us] to be better in the future,” Akbar said.
With Atut’s departure, the only remaining Golkar figure who holds a top administrative position in Banten is Suparman, Golkar’s Banten chapter’s deputy chairman, who is now sitting in as deputy speaker at the Banten Regional Legislative Council.
Suparman said Tatu’s victory would provide significant moral support to party members. “This new chairmanship will give Golkar a fresh start in Banten,” he said on the sidelines of the Musdalub on Friday.
The KPK named Atut a suspect last week for her role in the bribery case involving former Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Akil Mochtar to rule in favor of Lebak deputy regent Amir Hamzah, who was backed by the Golkar Party. Lebak is one of Banten’s regencies in which Atut has little influence. Amir lost the election to Iti Octavia, who also comes from a prominent political family in the province.