This doesn’t appear to be an April’s Fools Joke (if only because it’s already April 2 in Indonesia). Former Mahkamah Konstitusi Chief Justice Mahfud MD announced that he is ready to run for president. Of course, according to the interview with The Jakarta Post, he announced, “”If the opportunity is really there, I am ready to be nominated as a presidential candidate.” That’s president-speak for “I’m in it to win it.”
Of course, this isn’t a surprise – many had speculated that Mahfud resigned from the MK in order to compete in the 2014 elections. Nonetheless, it is a bit surprising that Mahfud has come out so openly without at least securing some party support. In the interview, he declared, “Even as of today, I have yet to know which political party that I might use, but basically all political parties have the same ideology.” There’s a risk that this might alienate some parties, as if he is claiming to be more important than the party that nominates him. Mahfud is popular, but is he really in such a strong position? GOLKAR, PDI-P, GERINDRA, and many of the major parties already have de facto candidates (a notable exception is the Democrat Party).
Stay tuned for more news about Mahfud’s candidacy and whether his legacy on the MK hurts or helps him.
According to The Jakarta Post, Mahfud has mentioned that he is in “talks” with some of the parties. However, he still seems intent on alienating parties. On Muslim parties, he said, “as we all know some of the Muslim parties are run by crooks.” It’s not clear if he meant to include PKB – his former party affiliation while he was a legislator in the DPR – amongst that group.