National

Dems support Puan as new
sports minister

The Democratic Party says it will support Puan Maharani, the daughter of former President Megawati Soekarnoputri, to replace Andi Mallarangeng as the next Youth and Sports Minister.

“The Democratic Party will fully support the President [if he appointed Puan],” said the party’s deputy general secretary Nurhayati Ali Assegaf on Friday.

Nurhayati, who is also the Democratic Party faction leader at the House of Representatives, said that Puan deserves the position. “She has the quality to be the minister. The Democratic Party supports her,” she said as quoted by Antara news wire.

Puan, who graduated from the University of Indonesia, is currently the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction leader at the House and member of the House’s Commission VI overseeing the state-owned firms.

Nurhayati, however, said that the appointment of new minister remains the President’s prerogative.

“It is the President’s choice,” Nurhayati said, “but the new minister does not have to come from the Democratic Party”.

Andi Mallarangeng, one of the key figures in the ruling Democratic Party, resigned his position after becoming a suspect in the Hambalang sports complex graft case. His post is temporarily handled by Coordinating Peoples Welfare Minister Agung Laksono.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is reportedly selecting several names, including Puan, as candidates.

Puan and her father Taufiq Kiemas, PDI-P figure and the speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, visited Yudhoyono to personally give Taufiq’s biography on Wednesday.

More than a book-giving meeting, the visit could be seen as a further conciliatory gesture between Yudhoyono, the patron of the Democratic Party, and the opposition PDI-P ahead of the 2014 general election.

The relationship between Yudhoyono and Megawati reportedly turned sour when Yudhoyono, who was one of Megawati's most trusted aides, decided to compete head to head with her in 2004 presidential election using the newly founded Democratic Party as his political base. (cor/lfr)

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