Ezra Sihite & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Members of the Democratic Party have begun speaking out against the idea of Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, the president’s son, contesting the 2014 presidential election as Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie’s running mate.
Democratic Party deputy chairman Max Sopacua said on Tuesday that the Democrats were not interested the country’s number two position.
“[The Democratic Party] as the ruling party and the biggest party will never aim for just the vice presidency,” Max said. “We only want the presidency.”
Any notion of Edhie, popularly known as Ibas, running with Aburizal came only from Golkar, Max said. The Democrats would decide on their own candidate for president next year, he added.
He said that Ibas would very likely turn down the offer, especially since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had earlier said no member of his family would run.
“It’s up to them [to nominate Ibas] but one thing is certain: we will stick to our commitment,” Max said.
Arya Fernandez, a political analyst from the consultancy Charta Politika, said Golkar’s public airing of the possible ticket was simply a way for it to grab the spotlight.
“This is just Ical’s effort to get media attention,” Arya said, using Aburizal’s popular nickname. “It’s also aimed at delegitimizing the names that once emerged as the Democrats’ presidential or vice presidential candidates, such as Djoko Suyanto, Pramono Edhie Wibowo, Anas Urbaningrum and others.”
Arya said everybody knew it would be strategically unwise for Golkar to nominate Ibas for such a high office because of his inexperience and lack of popularity at the national level.
Meanwhile, Golkar deputy secretary general Nurul Arifin said she was surprised at the Democrats’ negative reaction toward the possibility of an Aburzial-Ibas ticket.
Nurul said the idea had been received well by both Golkar and the public.
“We were quite surprised that our initiative was responded to negatively,” she said. “What we’re suggesting is actually positive, but if it’s responded to negatively, well then I don’t know what to say.”
She also denied that the idea of nominating Ibas was a simply a ruse to take advantage of his stature in the Democratic Party or to attract attention.
“It’s a mistake if you say we want to take advantage. Golkar already has a [big] name,” Nurul said.
She added that Golkar had a strict set of criteria for picking its vice presidential candidate, including personality, ethnic background and whether they could get along with Aburizal as the party’s presidential candidate.