Pramono on Running With Joko: Why Not?

Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo before the Democratic Party's Presidential Candidate Convention Committee on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 9:18 PM September 17, 2013
Category : News, Politics, Featured

Balikpapan. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, the former Army chief of staff, says he has not ruled out being asked to run with Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, the front-runner in most polls of potential candidates for next year’s presidential election.

Speaking in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Tuesday, Pramono said that if selected as the Democratic Party’s candidate, he would welcome the chance to be assigned as Joko’s deputy.

“Politics is very fluid and dynamic, so there’s of course the possibility of running with anyone,” he said.

“It doesn’t have to be A or B. But my focus for now is on the Democratic convention [to select a presidential candidate], and if I win, then I’m grateful.”

Pramono, the brother-in-law of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is one of 11 men taking part in the selection process that is expected to culminate next May, after the legislative election in April and ahead of the presidential election in July.

With none of the contenders expected to pose a realistic challenge to front-runners such as Joko and Prabowo Subianto, the chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement party (Gerindra), the Democrats’ convention has been written off by observers as a exercise to pick a vice presidential candidate once coalition talks begin after the legislative election.

Joko’s party, the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said last week that it might consider both Pramono and Prabowo for the number two slot on its ticket, along with several other figures from outside the party.

However, the Democrats have played down the idea of their presidential candidate playing second fiddle to for another party’s nominee.

“We’re grateful to the PDI-P, but we’re sticking with our original intention, which is that our convention is meant to produce a presidential candidate,” Saan Mustopha, a Democrat deputy secretary general, said over the weekend.

“All 11 people taking part are vying for the chance at the presidency, not the vice presidency,” he added.

He said he was optimistic that the party, which won 26 percent of seats at the House of Representatives in the 2009 election, would win the minimum 25 percent required to nominate a presidential candidate next year. However, most polls indicate that the party will struggle just to break double digits.

The Democrats’ 11 hopefuls presented their platforms to the party on Monday night, with Pramono stressing the importance of law enforcement in eradicating corruption in the country.

He pledged to fight “with the people to achieve independence in all sectors and to overcome problems that may arise.”

“Sovereignty lies in the hands of the people. Together with the people, let’s fight for independence. I promise I will never leave my fellow countrymen when problems arise,” he said.

Pramono also emphasized the importance in continuing development.

“We must continue to push for improvement of the country to achieve more dignity,” he said.

On Tuesday, he reiterated his support of Indonesia achieving self-sufficiency in food and energy.

“We’re still not self-sufficient in either food or energy because we rely on imports. We need to seriously think about moving to renewable energy sources,” he said.

Pramono also called for more equitable development throughout the country to spur growth in the underdeveloped areas beyond Java.

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