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Democrats open to ousiders in 2014

Jakarta | Mon, January 7 2013 | 10:07 am

When’s my turn?: First Lady Ani Yudhoyono prepares her camera for another shot as her husband President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono converses with a gas station attendant in Tangerang, Banten on Friday. The National Awakening Party (PKB) has expressed interest in supporting the presidential candidacy of the First Lady in the 2014 election. Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf

An executive with the ruling Democratic Party said that outsiders could be nominated for the party’s presidential ticket in the 2014 election.

Deputy Secretary General Saan Mustopa said that the objective was to find the best possible candidates and it was not a sign that the party had no decent candidates of its own.

“If we don’t have a candidate in our party, why force it? If a candidate is from outside of the party but shares our vision, we will not let them go if they are really good,” Saan said as quoted by kompas.com.

Saan emphasized that any outside candidates must not only be highly able, but also extremely popular.

“The selection of any outsider should be much more rigorous and thorough than for an internal candidate. If his or her electability rating is only as high as our own candidate’s, why should we pick her or him?” Saan said.

The Democratic Party will probably announce its presidential ticket in the second half of this year.

The party is yet to decide if it will hold a convention or leave the decision to the party’s chief patron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Last week, Yudhoyono called on top politicians to step forward and tell the nation if they were capable of becoming the next president.

“Propose yourself to become president,” he said in an interview with Metro TV broadcast on Wednesday.

“Let each of those presidential aspirants explain to the public what they would do and which direction they would take Indonesia if elected. Let them explain their views and policies and suggest solutions to our many problems,” he told Metro TV’s host Najwa Shihab.

Meanwhile, an executive of the National Awakening Party (PKB) said on Saturday that the party may give its support to First Lady Ani Yudhoyono as presidential
candidate in the 2014 election.

Deputy secretary general of the PKB Faisol Reza said that the First Lady is one of the most preferred candidates within the party circle.

“Ibu Ani is one of the most talked about candidates. Every time we talk about her, we always have heated discussion. This means that we pay a lot of attention to her,” Faisol said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Faisol is convinced that the First Lady would stand out among other candidates.

“Other candidates have openly declared their intentions. But Ibu Ani is different. She has never declared her intention, let alone running ads on television. She has not worked on her candidacy. We are convinced that if she declares her intention her electability rating will soar,” he said.

Yudhoyono is not eligible to run for a third term and earlier quashed a speculation that his wife had been groomed as his successor.

He has pledged that no one from his family will run for the top position.

In December, the PKB said that it was in talks with self-styled king of dangdut Rhoma Irama about his presidential aspirations.

PKB chairman Muhaimin Iskandar said on Monday that the party still thought the popular singer had a lot of potential. Muhaimin said the party wanted to nominate Rhoma not only because of his popularity but also his leadership and vision.

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