Megawati Re-elected Party Chief at Bali Congress

The Bali Times

IN what turned out to be a one-horse race, president Megawati Sukarnoputri was re-elected to the chairmanship of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) during a vote at the party’s national congress in Sanur on Thursday.

The daughter of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno will lead the opposition party for the 2010-2015 period, congress official Frans Lebu Raya told applauding delegates at the Inna Grand Bali Beach hotel.

In a rousing speech on Tuesday, Megawati, invoking the spirit of her late father, spoke of her fervent nationalism and said the party should not join a coalition with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party but remain true to its roots and fight for the ordinary people.

Indonesia, she said, was not a country of politics but of helping one another advance.

“History teaches us, and our destiny is always to struggle for the dignity of our people, as Bung Karno did. This is much bigger than sharing power,” she said, referring to the popular name for her charismatic father.

The congress had earlier thrown cold water on a proposal to elect Megawati’s daughter Puan Maharani as deputy chairman of the party, a proposed new position, in a move that would have given rise to a family political dynasty.

Megawati, 63, served as Indonesia’s fourth president, from 2001 to 2004. Yudhoyono was chief security minister in her cabinet.

Some observers had questioned her running for the party chairmanship again, arguing that after a disastrous showing in last year’s presidential election in which Megawati ran and garnered less than half the votes of winner Yudhoyono, she should bow out and allow the party to select fresh blood.

Her re-election to the party’s top post this week may, however, pave the way for a third bid at the presidency in 2014.

PDI-P is particularly popular in Bali, in large part due to Megawati’s paternal grandmother having been Balinese.

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