Party dogged by infighting

Golkar was on the verge of an ugly implosion until just six months ago over a leadership tussle between party veterans Agung Laksono and Aburizal Bakrie.

Mr Agung was hoping Golkar would defect to President Joko Widodo's ruling coalition, while Mr Bakrie wanted the party to remain in the opposition. The debacle was played out for more than a year as the party's infighting ended up in the Jakarta State Administrative Court last May, with Judge Satya Bakti recognising Mr Bakrie's leadership.

The saga began after a rival faction held a congress and named Mr Agung Golkar chairman in 2014. This was just days after Mr Bakrie was re-elected as party chief in December that same year.

Both sides later brought their respective claims to various courts, where they received a mix of judgments. But in a dramatic twist last November, the two rival factions buried the hatchet and declared their support for Mr Joko's government.

The party's road to reconciliation is now expected to be tested at the upcoming national congress, with a new leader expected to be elected by Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Party dogged by infighting'. Print Edition | Subscribe