Calls mount for Mega to curb her ambitions


Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, December 20 2013, 10:24 AM

Guruh Soekarnoputra: (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Amid reports that Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri has begun resisting attempts to nominate Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for the 2014 presidential election, calls have mounted for her to rein in her ambitions.

On Thursday, Megawati’s younger brother Guruh Soekarnoputra called on the PDI-P chair to drop her putative plan to run again, saying that it could backfire.

“Her moment has passed. The time is not right for her anymore,” Guruh told reporters on the sidelines of a House of Representatives plenary meeting on Thursday as quoted by kontan.com.

In spite of Jokowi’s popularity, Megawati is said to be weighing the option of running in the 2014 presidential poll with the popular Jakarta governor as her running mate.

PDI-P deputy secretary-general Hasto Kristianto said that an internal survey of party members revealed that the possible ticket had received a warm welcome.

Media reports have suggested that Megawati has issued an order telling party members not to talk about the presidential ticket as she will be the one making the decision.

A PDI-P national convention granted Megawati the prerogative of naming the party’s presidential
candidate for the 2014 elections.

Analysts have warned the PDI-P that failure to nominate Jokowi will deal a severe blow to the party.

Executive director of the Poll Tracking Institute, Hanta Yuda, said on Thursday that if the PDI-P failed to nominate Jokowi, it would disappoint its supporters who might then leave the party in droves.

“Jokowi is a magnet,” Hanta said.

Hanta said that the PDI-P leadership well understood the positive effect that Jokowi could have on the party and as long as Jokowi was associated with the PDI-P, the party would benefit.

“It’s possible the public might be satisfied with Jokowi being vice president, but most likely they wouldn’t be,” Hanta said.

The latest public opinion poll conducted by Poll Tracking revealed that the PDI-P would come out on top in the 2014 legislative election by garnering 18.5 percent of the vote. Golkar comes in second place with 16.9 percent of the vote.

In its most recent poll, the Jakarta-based think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) showed that if a presidential election took place today, the PDI-P would get 29.9 percent of the vote if the party nominated Jokowi for the 2014 presidential election.

Meanwhile, PDI-P politicians brushed off reports that Megawati had made attempts to silence opposition to her ongoing presidential ambitions.

Lawmaker Rieke Diah Pitaloka said that Megawati’s instruction to party members to not be preoccupied with finding a presidential candidate, was her attempt to implement the party mandate.

“This was the mandate from the convention that we all should focus on the legislative election, because our target is quite high,” she said.

Rieke said that only by achieving at least 27 percent of the popular vote, could the PDI-P nominate its own presidential ticket.

“We don’t want to be taken hostage by other political parties when it comes to fulfilling people’s basic rights,” Rieke said.

Hanta predicted that to achieve the legislative target, the PDI-P would likely announce its presidential candidate prior to the legislative election.

“Until then, the PDI-P will try to keep the positive sentiment going,” he added. (asw)

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