Major Support Eludes Presidential Contender Prabowo
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The Great Indonesia Movement Party has thrown its support behind the Democratic Party because its founder, Prabowo Subianto, is seeking the ruling party’s support in the 2014 presidential election even as it courts the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, an analyst says.
Prabowo is seen to be trying to win the nomination of Megawati Sukarnoputri’s PDI-P by repeatedly hinting that Puan Maharani, Megawati’s daughter, would be a perfect running mate.
On Wednesday, Prabowo praised Puan as an excellent politician.
The PDI-P has traditionally partnered with Gerindra. In the 2009 presidential poll, Prabowo was Megawati’s running mate, but the pair lost to the Democrats’ Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The parties have joined forces once again to back the PDI-P’s Joko Widodo in the Jakarta gubernatorial poll.
While several observers have said that Prabowo could get a nomination from either the PDI-P or the Democrats, he is yet to get support from Megawati, who still seems to be considering a presidential run of her own in 2014, or Yudhoyono.
Last month in Bali, Yudhoyono invited Prabowo to a reunion of the Indonesian Armed Forces Academy’s graduating class of 1973, even though Prabowo graduated a year later. During the event, Yudhoyono took Prabowo aside for a private talk.
An official confirmed that both talked about the election, but did not say whether Yudhoyono would endorse Prabowo.
While Prabowo appears to be seeking support from either Yudhoyono or Megawati, he still has neither’s backing.
Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said it was unlikely that Megawati would want to collaborate with Yudhoyono, given their past.
“If either Megawati and Yudhoyono see him as appeasing the either side, both will withdraw their support. That’s why [Prabowo] should focus on getting support from one or the other,” he said.
A recent opinion poll by the Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate identified Prabowo as top contender, ahead of Megawati and former Vice President Jusuf Kalla.