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May 14, 2009
Kalla Seeks Out Parties Irked by SBY’s VP Pick
The Golkar Party is intensifying efforts to approach parties disgruntled by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s decision to pick Bank Indonesia Governor Boediono as his running mate in the July presidential election.
Agung Laksono, Golkar’s deputy chairman, said his party had opened communications with the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), all of whom have threatened to leave the coalition led by Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party.
However, Agung admitted that communications between those parties have not entered a higher level. “We still don’t know whether they really want to join us or not. The approach is still on the level of political communication,” Agung said.
“As the first party to announce a presidential and vice presidential ticket, we’re hoping many parties join with us. The larger the better,” said Agung, who is also the House of Representatives’ speaker.
Golkar, who came second in the April legislative election with 14.45 percent of the vote, has nominated chairman Jusuf Kalla as its standard bearer in the presidential election, with Wiranto from the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) as his running mate.
Kalla and Wiranto were scheduled to register their candidacy with the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Wednesday, but they failed to show up.
Rully Chairul Azwar, Golkar‘s deputy secretary general, played down the no-show.
“The reason is just because Kalla wants the registration date to be on his birthday on May 15,” Rully claimed.
That date, Friday, is the last day for presidential and vice presidential candidates have to register with the KPU.
Kalla and Wiranto traveled to Surabaya, East Java, on Wednesday to open the Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama’s Social Emergency Response Agency and to visit several Islamic boarding schools.
During the visit, Muslim leaders pledged to support the pair and asked them to disband all deviant Muslim sects, including the heavily- threatened Ahmadiyah.
“We will fully support candidates who are committed to disbanding all deviant religious groups, including Ahmadiyah,” NU’s Hilmi Basaiban said.
Kalla responded by saying that the government and religious leaders should work hand in hand to deal with groups considered deviant. “Religious leaders have to deal with them first, and if those groups cannot be rectified, the government will deal with them,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Jakarta, senior Democrat Anas Urbaningrum said his party would not prevent the PKS from joining the Golkar-Hanura coalition.
He said Yudhoyono and his party had given explanations to its coalition friends over the reason why he picked up Budiono as a vice presidential candidate. “But if any of our coalition friends cannot understand and accept the explanations, we have no right to force them [to stick to the coalition with Yudhoyono and the Democrats],” Anas said.
“But we are also sure that our coalition friends have commitments to placing the national interest over personal or group interests,” he added.