The Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa or the Nation Awakening Party was founded in 1998 and is the political wing of the largest religious organization of Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama. On May 30, 1998, the Kyai (religious leaders”) held a grand Istighosah in the office of the East Java Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). The meeting resulted in KH Cholil Bisri being urged to form a party based on the NU’s political aspirations.
On June 6, Bisri met the Kyai in order to discuss the formation of the new party. More than 200 Kyai attended the meeting. This meeting resulted in the formation of the “Standing Committee”, consisting of 11 people, with Bisri as chairman and Gus Yus as secretary. This committee worked in a marathon session, preparing a platform and party components, including the logos which would become the party’s symbol. The Standing Committee and representatives of the NU held a major conference in Bandung, on July 4, 1998, which was attended by 27 regional representatives.
The name chosen was “Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa” (PKB) meaning “Nation Awakening Party”. The party’s base of support is strongest in Java Island and draws from the constituency that formerly supported the conservative Muslim organization NU. The National Awakening Party stood in the 1999 elections, winning 13 percent of the votes. In the 2004 elections, the party gained 10.57% (11,989,564) of votes and 52 seats in the People’s Representative Council. However, the party won only 4.9 percent of the votes in the 2009 legislative election, and 27 seats in the legislature.
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