A senior Democratic Party official said on Friday that former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati would make an ideal presidential candidate in 2014.
Achmad Mubarok, a member of the party’s advisory board, said the current batch of Democratic hopefuls were all “old faces” and stressed the need for the party to put forward a fresh figure.
“I believe Sri Mulyani is an asset,” he said during a seminar at Surabaya’s Airlangga University. “However, it’s not a given that the Democrats will nominate her.”
He added that she was worthy of a presidential nod because of her extensive macroeconomic knowledge. All that was needed to round out the ticket, Achmad said, was to find a running mate who was well-versed in microeconomic affairs.
He also said Mahfud M.D., the highly regarded chief justice of the Constitutional Court, was possible presidential material.
However, Achmad added that while the justice was “truly a great figure,” he tended to “talk too much.”
“As a law enforcement figure, he should be [recognized as] a legal saint,” he said.
“Yet he fell for Ruhut’s baiting,” he said, referring to Ruhut Sitompul, a notoriously outspoken Democrat who recently questioned Mahfud’s motives for bringing up allegations of attempted bribery by former party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin.
“Maybe Mahfud can still change,” Achmad said.
He denied speculation that Ani Yudhoyono, the first lady, was eyeing a presidential run once her husband’s term was up. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, currently serving his second term in office, is prohibited by term limits from seeking re-election in 2014.
“There won’t be a dynasty forming after Yudhoyono,” Achmad said. “The new candidate can come from inside the party or outside. It just depends on the relevance of their platform to the national agenda at the time.”
While the ruling Democrats juggle potential presidential candidates, the Golkar Party, the country’s second-largest, said it would decide on its candidate after conducting a survey of its constituents.
Idrus Marham, the party’s secretary general, said at the Airlangga seminar that Golkar would “depend heavily on the results of the survey” to pick its candidate.
He said an earlier meeting of the party’s regional heads agreed that party chairman Aburizal Bakrie would make the best candidate.
“He has recommended that we go ahead with the survey anyway,” Idrus said. “He doesn’t want the decision to be based on the fact that he’s the chairman and hence should advance.”
Idrus added that while in theory anyone from Golkar could be in the running, the realistic choice was Aburizal.
“He’s got the biggest chance of [winning the election] because he’s got the widest communications reach,” he said.
He added that the use of a survey to select the preferred candidate would also be extended to decide on the party’s entries in elections for governor, mayor and district heads across the country.