Growing party support for first lady Ani Yudhoyono to run in the next presidential election is a sign of a shake-up inside the Democratic Party, political experts say.
Siti Zuhro, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said on Saturday that the contradicting party support for Ani running for the top spot and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s recent statement that none of his family members would run in the 2014 elections reflects a divide among the Democrats.
“There is a shake-up and nobody in the party is thinking calmly,” Siti said at a weekend discussion on political dynasties.
Ani has been publicly mentioned several times by senior Democrats such as Ruhut Sitompul, Melani Leimena Suharli and Andi Nurpati as a potential candidate in the next presidential election.
“The party members showed their support for Bu Ani in the media without any sense of reluctance. This contradicts SBY’s statement. Party members should refrain from making statements about who will be the next president,” Siti said.
However, she added that chances for Ani’s candidacy were now slim because of her husband’s statement.
“SBY will not retract his statement because he is not an easy person to influence,” she said.
Yudhoyono said earlier in May, “I won’t be a presidential candidate in 2014, and neither will my wife or my children.” Ani had previously refused to comment on the issue.
Rachland Nashidik, secretary of the Democratic Party’s Human Rights Department, said that the first lady’s growing support from party members was a reaction to her public profile, as she is seen as a popular figure to run for the presidency.
“The statements of support for Ibu Ani should be perceived as personal assessments of Ibu Ani instead of a political statement,” he said.
He also pointed to Yudhoyono’s statement as the greatest reason Ani would not be running.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), also known for nominating family members for presidency, said that it gave equal opportunity to its members for the nomination.
PDI-P is headed by Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno.
“The Sukarno name is only one string that binds the ideology of the party members. We have a system that guarantees equal opportunity to advance in the ranks of the party,” said Firman Jaya Daeli, a PDI-P politician. “We don’t need to shun dynasty politics. What’s important is to create an open and competitive system where everybody has a chance.”
Megawati’s daughter, Puan Maharani, is PDI-P faction leader. Sukarno’s son, Guruh Sukarno Putra, and granddaughter, Puti Guntur Sukarno, are both PDI-P legislators.