Agung Laksono meets President Jokowi

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Agung Laksono, a senior politician from the Golkar Party, met President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace here on Monday.

Laksono, who is also chairman of one of the rival factions of the Golkar Party that has split into two, stated that he wanted the party to be united in a fair manner.

He was elected general chairman of the rival faction in a congress in Ancol, Jakarta, after earlier in Bali, the other faction elected incumbent Aburizal Bakrie to lead the party for another five years.

"We differ in opinion, but we love unity. We want reconciliation. We want to be united again but in a fair manner," Laksono noted recently.

He remarked that the best way to reconcile was through a national congress to elect new leaders of the party.

He pointed out that the congress should be held as soon as possible, no later than next month, to allow the party to carry on its functions as a political entity.

The government had earlier only recognized the party under Laksono, but the court ordered to cancel the decision, leaving the party without a legal leadership.

"It was an arrogant thought that the national congress was not necessary," Laksono affirmed.

"We have heard that there has been a meeting in Bali that decided to reject a national congress. It was an unsympathetic decision," he stated.

Bakrie and his followers recently held a meeting in Bali and decided to reject the idea of holding a congress before 2019.

Laksono said he regretted that Bakrie did not laud the initiative taken by his faction to hold talks.

"It seems they are not interested and are not keen at all (in reconciliation). Arrogance has led them to a decision that a congress is not necessary," he noted.

"I think we should just leave it to the public to evaluate," he added.

He pointed out that his faction was interested in holding a national congress to select new leaders in a transparent and democratic manner.

Laksono also urged to put off the process of naming a new Parliament speaker to replace Setya Novanto as the party had no legal standing.

However, the process continued on Monday with Ade Komaruddin from the Bakrie-led faction being named as the new speaker to replace Novanto who is also from Golkar.

Novanto stepped down in disgrace as House speaker after the Houses Ethics Council found him guilty of violating the ethical code.

Earlier, Leo Nababan, another leader of Golkar under Laksono, had remarked that the most realistic option to save Golkar was by forming a transitional executive board.

"The proposal to form a transitional executive board is my brilliant idea. This is more realistic, with Jusuf Kalla (who is now vice president) as the general chairman and Akbar Tanjung as the secretary general," Leo affirmed.

Both Kalla and Tanjung are influential leaders and were former general chairmen of the party.

Leo claimed that he wanted Kalla and Tanjung to take over the leadership and immediately organize a national congress.

The two leaders could still be expected to save the party, which has the second-largest number of seats in the parliament, he stated.

Kalla and Tanjung could select equal number of leaders from the two rival factions, he added.

He suggested that the new leaders should be selected from among the younger cadres such as Airlangga Hartanto, Tommy Soeharto, Komaruddin, and Agus Gumiwang.(*)