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 23 Apr 2009

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Indonesia: Golkar to break off coalition talks

The top coalition party in the government of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Wednesday it will abandon its alliance with the ex-general as he seeks re-election in July, reported AFP.

Golkar executives decided at a meeting to break off talks with Yudhoyono's Democratic Party that would have likely seen Vice-President and Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla run for a second term, party secretary Soemarsono told reporters.

"After carrying out intensive communications for a week on continuing the government of SBY and JK, we haven't reached a common point of view on a coalition between the Democratic Party and Golkar," Soemarsono said, referring to the leaders by their initials.

Golkar, the former political vehicle of ex-ruler Suharto during his 32-year New Order government, was "opening communication with other political parties to build a strong and effective government," he said.

However, senior Golkar politician Akbar Tandjung said the decision was not final, and that a binding decision could be made only at a national meeting of the Golkar leadership to be held in Jakarta Thursday, news website Detikcom reported.

Yudhoyono and Kalla won the country's leadership by a landslide in the country's first direct presidential election in 2004.

Yudhoyono's personal popularity saw the vote for the Democratic Party surge in nationwide legislative elections held earlier this month.

The Democratic Party almost tripled its vote to become the biggest party at 20.48 percent, while Golkar slipped from being the largest in parliament to a relatively paltry 13.95 percent, according to one unofficial early count.

The Democratic Party of Struggle of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, considered a distant second runner to the favourite Yudhoyono in July, won an estimated 14.33 percent of the vote.





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