A senior member of the National Awakening Party has expressed doubt that late President Abdurrahman Wahid’s daughter Yenny Wahid can boost the Democratic Party’s appeal in next year’s elections.
Marwan Ja’far, a legislator from the party known as the PKB, said on Monday that the Democrats would not gain anything from Yenny’s decision to join the party, despite her family’s historical ties to Nadhlatul Ulama.
NU is the biggest Islamic grassroots organization in the country, with more than 40 million followers.
According to Marwan, NU would consistently throw its support behind the PKB because traditionally the PKB had been the party to channel NU followers’ political aspirations.
He also said that Yenny did not have any significant influence that could draw NU leaders and her father’s sympathizers to the Democrats because she had never done anything significant for NU.
“Yenny never shed sweat for NU,” Marwan claimed.
Sutan Bhatoegana, a member of the Democrats’ central leadership board, said he was not very familiar with how Yenny joined the party but believed that she had discussed her plan with the party chairman, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in person.
Sutan said he welcomed Yenny’s decision to join the ruling party, adding that he believed she would be able to bolster its electability in the 2014 legislative election.
“I’m sure Yenny can help boost the votes for the party,” he said.
Ahmad Mubarok, a member of the party’s board of advisers, has confirmed Yenny’s decision to join.
Previously, the Democrats’ managing chairman, Syarief Hasan, said that Yenny, who is the chairwoman of the New Indonesian National Sovereignty Party (PKBIB), which did not qualify for the 2014 elections, had been in intense communication with Democratic Party officials.
Yenny visited Yudhoyono at his home in Cikeas, Bogor, at the end of last month. She also met with a member of the party’s board of advisers, Soekarwo, during the party’s extraordinary congress in Bali at the end of last month.
Imron Rosyadi Hamid, who is a spokesman for the Wahid family, said that Yenny had decided to join the Democratic Party because its ideology was similar to that of her late father, which was nationalist-religious in nature.
He denied any special deal between Yenny and the president.
“We’re not talking about positions for Yenny in the party structure, that’s just simplifying our main goal,” Imron said.
“Basically the decision is based on the shared interest we have in the people, the country and the state.”
The family spokesman denied that Yenny was vying for a ministerial position should the Democrats win the presidential election. He added that she would not even run for a legislative position for the party in the general election.