Well, from a certain point of view. According to The Irrawaddy, Speaker Thura Shwe Mann has announced that he supports changing § 59F of the 2008 Constitution to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to be a candidate for president. Oddly enough, Shwe Mann himself also wants that job. Could this be an attempt by Shwe Mann to keep his hands clean in case the constitutional reforms do not allow his greatest potential challenger to complete in 2015?
Category Archives: president
I’ve previously suggested that the Democratic Party’s primary might give former Mahkamah Konstitusi chief justice Mahfud MD an opportunity to ferry his considerable public support onto a major party ticket. Now, according to The Jakarta Post, senior Democratic Party officials have expressed interest in having Mahfud compete in the primary.
Democratic Party Deputy Chairman Max Sopacua said, “We are open to anyone, Anies Baswedan, Mahfud MD, everybody, they can apply. We have a selection process but we already know that those two individuals are credible.”
Mahfud himself has not made any declarations yet. He has expressed skepticism of some of the country’s Islamic parties, suggesting that their leadership is corrupt. The Democratic Party seems like the best fit. However, as is clear in the rest of the article, the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to have come to a consensus on its preferred candidate. In fact, many PD members want to recruit Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, currently a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Less clear is whether PD can still aggressively recruit outsiders given that candidates have to compete in the primary system. Would Mahfud join PD in the chance that he might win the nomination? Would Jokowi jump ship for the stronger organizational resources of PD versus the more guaranteed nomination in PDI-P? I’m sure there the party is negotiating with potential candidates behind-the-scenes, but just over a year away it seems as difficult as ever to predict who will win Indonesia’s 2014 presidential election.
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.