Democrats to Nominate Own Presidential Candidate

The Democratic Party says its upcoming convention to select a presidential candidate will cost about Rp 50 billion ($4.6 million) and private donations are being considered. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 9:40 AM April 23, 2014
Category : News, Politics

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and first lady Ani Yudhoyono cheer at  Democratic Party Extraordinary Congress event in Bali. (Rumgapres Phot/Abroro Rizki) President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and first lady Ani Yudhoyono cheer at Democratic Party Extraordinary Congress event in Bali. (Rumgapres Phot/Abroro Rizki)

Jakarta. The ruling Democratic Party will go ahead with its presidential convention to name the party’s presidential candidate, a party official has said.

Jero Wacik, the secretary of the Democrat’s high assembly, said his party would nominate its own presidential candidate and would not put forward the convention winner as a vice presidential candidate for another party, as previously suggested.

“One party that gained 11 percent [ sic ] of the voes in the legislative election has nominated its candidate. We picked up 10 percent [ sic ] of the vote so why can’t we nominate someone?” Jero said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Jero was referring to the quick count results that showed the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, winning around 12 percent of the vote and the Democrats picking up 9 percent in the April 9 legislative election.

Democrat chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a closed meeting on Tuesday to decide the fate of the party’s convention after quick count results showed that the party had garnered less than half of the 20 percent it collected in 2009.

“The convention’s committee had asked for clarification of the convention,” said Suady Marasebessy, the convention committee’s secretary.

“It was postponed because of the legislative election. The decision is that the convention will be continued with one more round of debates which will take place in Jakarta.”

He said that the final convention would be held later this month and that the convention committee would hold a second survey on the 11 convention participants after that. The party will decide on the winner based on the survey, he said.

“After that there will be further communication with other political parties,” Suady said.

Jero said the Democrats were now waiting for the final vote count to determine the number of seats the party will get at the House of Representatives.

Jero also criticized United Development Party (PPP) secretary general M. Romahurmuziy’s suggestion that Yudhoyono could be nominated as a vice presidential candidate, saying that such a suggestion was illogical.

“The convention is to nominate a presidential candidate,” Jero said.

He said there had been no suggestion whatsoever from the Democrats to nominate Yudhoyono as a vice president because the party was waiting for the convention result.

Romahurmuziy previously expressed his opposition toward his party chairman Suryadharma Ali’s decision to support Prabowo Subianto from Gerindra.

Romahurmuziy said he hoped the PPP and other Islamic parties would form a coalition with the Democrats and nominate Yudhoyono as their vice presidential candidate.

“It’s not impossible that we [Islamic parties] could build a central axis and nominate SBY as a vice presidential candidate. That can be done,” he said.

Romahurmuziy said that currently there were three major forces that would compete in the upcoming presidential election. They are Joko Widodo from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Prabowo from Gerindra, and Aburizal Bakrie from the Golkar Party.

He said a central axis formed by Islamic parties and the Democrats could compete against the three other.

“Don’t be mistaken, Pak SBY’s electability is still high, more than 50 percent. He could defeat Joko and Prabowo,” he said.

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