Jakarta. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono looks set to succeed his father, former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as chairman of the Democratic Party during its congress that kicked off on Sunday.
Agus, now serves as deputy chairman, is the sole candidate to register for the internal election just before the congress began at the Jakarta Convention Center.
“I’m carrying with me the documents of recommendation from all regional chapter leaders across Indonesia,” Agus told the registration staff as he handed the endorsement letters accompanied by his wife Annisa Pohan.
Dozens of supporters welcomed him at the venue and chanted “AHY for chairman!”, calling him by initials.
Agus took early retirement from the Indonesian Military in 2016 for a new path as politician and ran for gubernatorial election in Jakarta, but he failed to win.
His attempt to become a running mate in the presidential election also came to an abrupt end last year, when presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto picked businessman Sandiaga Uno instead.
Senior party member Irwan said Agus will easily win the chairmanship due to overwhelming support from regional chapters, that effectively shuts door to any potential challenger.
"AHY has registered himself with over 90 percent of support. The minimum support for a candidate is 35 percent before he can register," Irwan told reporters.
He said the former ruling party is open to any member to register as candidate as long as the threshold is met. With only a single candidate, the new chairman is very likely to be appointed by acclamation.
"The core of democracy in Indonesia is mutual agreement. All members who hold the voting rights can surely understand this," Irwan said.
Agus, 41, will set precedence in political successions where most parties tend to give way to much older leaders, Irwan said.
Democratic Party secretary-general Hinca Pandjaitan said the congress will run smoothly to elect Agus without drama.
“A congress doesn’t have to be noisy all the time. The Democratic Party is 18 years of age and we want to make sure this congress is exemplary in our democracy,” Hinca said.
More than 600 members from all regional chapters attended the opening day of the congress to hear speech by the chairman.
“I have my trust that in the hands of our new leaders, the Democratic Party is embracing a brighter future. These leaders, who will shoulder a major task for the next five years, are capable, visionary, competent, loyal to the party’s struggle and highly committed to holding the Democratic Party in great esteem,” Susilo, better known as SBY, told the audience.
He founded the party in 2001 and used it as political vehicle to win the presidency, which he served from 2004 to 2014.
The party rose to win the most votes in the 2009 legislative election when it grabbed 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives. But its share dropped to just 10 percent as he ended presidency in 2014, and plunged deeper to just 7.7 percent in last year’s election.