Subject: Wiranto's Hanura Party Digs Deeper into Its "Conscience"

The Jakarta Post March 27, 2009

Hanura digs deeper into its conscience

by Ridwan Max Sijabat

Being number one on the list of contesting parties means little in the grand scheme of the elections, and that is something that the People's Conscience (Hanura) Party is well aware of heading into the upcoming legislative elections. fill.

Defeated in the 2004 presidential race, former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief, defense minister and four-star Gen. (ret) Wiranto, who expressed disappointment with the "deceiving results" of the past general elections that "gave nothing to the people", quit the Golkar Party and joined forces with close friends to form Hanura on Nov. 14, 2006.

The party was built to serve as a political vehicle to take over power through the polls, with the main mission of pursuing universal social welfare, free education and free or at least affordable healthcare for the needy.

With its name, the military-style party is determined to prove its leadership is a far cry from the TNI's leadership during the ruthless crackdown in the 1999 riots in then East Timor and the bloody sectarian violence in Maluku, while it tries to tout the promise of a national leader with a conscience achieving the party's national goals.

"The people should elect a national leader and legislative candidates who have a conscience, because development in all sectors cannot go on without a conscience," Hanura chairman Wiranto pleaded with his audience in a recent campaign speech.

Responding to reports of a lack of human resources, financing and internal consolidation, Hanura deputy chairman Fuad Bawazir denounced "misleading results" of certain surveys that indicated the party had little chance of attaining its target of 20 percent of votes in the legislative elections.

"Emerging as a nationalist party with two additional affiliate mass organizations in 2006, Wiranto, former Army chief Gen. Subagyo H.S. and former TNI general affairs chief Suaidi Marasabessy have their own networks to be deployed to seek political support for the party, presidential candidate Wiranto and our legislative candidates," he said.

As new party, Hanura lacks a strong voter base, but has been developing its leaders' networks, while the affiliate mass organizations have been working for the past two years to build new networks in rural and urban areas nationwide.

Bawazir criticized major parties' overconfidence in assuming they would certainly be eligible for the presidential race, saying no side could claim a ticket to the presidential race before the April 9 legislative polls.

"The legislative elections will prove which parties have a mandate to represent the people in parliament, and which are eligible to nominate presidential candidates. Regarding the national leadership issue, Wiranto failed in the 2004 presidential race, but has never failed as a president of course because he never became president," he said, adding that Hanura was pragmatic enough to realize it might need to form a coalition with other parties, including Islamic-based ones.

The party has promised that should it come out on top at the polls, it would reform the bureaucracy and fight corruption to bring about good governance, as well as review the investment law and other controversial laws to create public policy that would benefit the majority of the people.

"So far, Hanura still relies on Wiranto to bring forward its economic and public service development programs, and if he is eligible for the presidential race, most people, including farmers, the families of servicemen, veterans and Golkar supporters, will probably vote for Wiranto," Bawazir said, adding that to many, Wiranto, with more than 20 million votes in the last presidential election, was far more popular than Vice President and Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla or Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party chairman Prabowo Subianto.

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