Opposition Golkar loyalties may change as vice-president takes the party chair Indonesia's political landscape received a jolt yesterday when Vice-President Jusuf Kalla won the chairmanship of Golkar, the largest party in parliament and the core of the opposition coalition. Mr Kalla decisively defeated incumbent Akbar Tandjung in a marathon early-hours ballot at the party congress, 324 votes to 156, effectively ending Mr Akbar's political career. Initial predictions suggest Golkar, which the former ruler Suharto used for three decades to give his dictatorship a veneer of democracy, will join the patronage-laden government camp. On the surface this would be good news for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. His supporters would, in theory, control 362 of the 500 seats in parliament. But the reality is likely to be much more blurred because it is not clear how Mr Kalla - the alleged target of a poisoning attempt at the party congress, where traces of arsenic were found in his soup - will use his now-considerable power. 'This is a two-edged sword,' said Mohammad Qodari, of the Indonesia Survey Institute. 'Right now, we have two suns in the country. If they work together shining on Indonesia, it will be good for the people of this country. But if they don't, they will burn the people. 'This will accumulate all the power in Kalla's hands. It could complicate [Dr Susilo's] relationship with him.' After only two months of Dr Susilo's government, it is clear that Mr Kalla is proving a much more hands-on vice-president than his predecessors of the past 40 years. In interviews he has said he sees his role as overseeing much of the policy-making process so Dr Susilo can concentrate on taking the decisions. Ministers have described the reality as micromanagement by both the president and the vice-president. It is also unclear where Mr Kalla's true loyalties lie, with the smart money being to himself. Speculation is already rampant over whether he will run for the presidency in 2009. If he uses his power and wealth effectively, he could be a formidable contender. Alternatively, he might decide that, at 64 already, he is too old. But if the 'JK for president' stickers appearing yesterday on the final day of the congress are anything to go by, Dr Susilo will have to spend much of his time watching his back. All this, however, presupposes Mr Kalla can control Golkar, which is anything but a united entity. Rather than being a disciplined, cohesive party, it is still dominated by personalities such as Mr Kalla, Mr Akbar, parliament speaker Agung Laksono and the former generals Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto, each with their own cliques. Working in his favour is the massive patronage Mr Kalla controls as vice-president and party chairman. Provincial and district level officials will be elected directly from next year. Anyone wanting to be a Golkar candidate will have to be in the Kalla camp. The great unknown is what Mr Kalla's strategy will be to win the presidency. He will have to show the nation he is an effective administrator, which means he cannot undermine Dr Susilo too much. But at some point he will have to distance himself from his boss, potentially sabotaging the government. How and when this will happen will be the big question until 2009.