State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan says he is ready to be a 2014 presidential nominee, if a party were to seek him out as its standard bearer.
“Whether I want it or not, I have to say that I’m ready,” Dahlan said on Monday, as quoted by Liputan6.com. “This is the first time for me to say this.”
A recent survey by the Indonesian Youth Alliance (API) showed that among younger demographics, Dahlan and Constitutional Court chief Mahfud M.D. were the most popular prospective candidates among figures not affiliated with political parties.
Dahlan refused to say whether specific parties were courting him for a 2014 run. The minister said he would seek the approval of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to contest in the election.
“Related to politics, I always ask for the approval and opinion [of the president],” he said. “If he wants it, I will do it, because at the moment I’m SBY’s staffer.”
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said Yudhoyono had not been informed of Dahlan’s interest in the 2014 election.
“We didn’t know,” Julian said at the presidential palace on Tuesday. “The election is still a long way from now, why declare it now?”
He said Yudhoyono would not object to any of his ministers running in the next election, as long as they adequately met their obligations and responsibilities as cabinet members.
“The president said that those [cabinet members], both from political parties or not, … should focus on their work and responsibilities,” Julian said. “The president once said that public officials, including ministers, should have a sense of crisis and a sense of responsibility, two things that should be improved. If they have other political ambition, feel free to do it; this is a democratic nation.”
Dahlan said he would be happy to have the quality of his ministerial work evaluated if a run for the presidency was in the cards.