Megawati Considers Sultan and Hidayat for Running Mate
Muninggar Sri Saraswati
The Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, is considering either Yogyakarta’s governor, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, or People’s Consultative Assembly chairman Hidayat Nurwahid as Megawati Sukarnoputri’s running mate in next year’s presidential election, a party official said on Sunday.
Maruarar Sirait, a PDI-P deputy chairman, said that both figures were shown to be popular in several recent opinion polls. “The public has a positive view of both of them,” he said on Sunday.
However, Maruarar said the party would make a final decision on a running mate during a national party meeting next year.
“The decision on who will run as Megawati’s vice presidential candidate is in the hands of the party’s members,” he said.
The party has named Megawati, its chairperson and a former president, as its presidential candidate for next year’s election.
Maruarar said that to be Megawati’s running mate, a politician had to share her ideology.
“However, it is important to have a popular vice presidential candidate to improve our chances of winning the election,” Maruar said.
Megawati lost her re-election bid in 2004, with her former minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, winning the presidency.
Hamengkubuwono’s chief strategist, Sukardi Rinakit, has said that the sultan was seeking nothing less than the presidency. Hamengkubuwono has yet to win the nomination of the Golkar Party, of which he is a member.
Hidayat has been named by the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, which he formerly chaired, as one of its eight potential presidential nominees.
The election law provides that only a party or coalition of parties that wins 25 percent of the vote in the legislative elections, or 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives, can nominate a presidential candidate.