National

Gita and Jimly may enter
Democratic Party primary

Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan and former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie say they are considering entering the Democratic Party’s presidential primary race.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who cannot run again in 2014, announced last week that his party would select their presidential candidate and running mate for the 2014 election through a primary election.

Many see the move as nothing more than an attempt to win back voters. Primaries are used in the United States to select presidential candidates. The Golkar Party held a convention which selected Wiranto for the 2004 election.

Gita said he might enter the race and would be ready to be a presidential candidate if he won. He told The Jakarta Post through a text message that his preparation would be through “effort, prayer and endeavor”.

Jimly, now chairman of the Election Organizers Ethics Council (DKPP), is also ready to join in the primary if asked. “If they ask me to enter, I may consider it,” he told the Post. “Although as a DKPP official, I must be neutral.”

He praised the Democratic Party and the United Development Party (PPP) for holding conventions to pick their candidates, calling it democratic.

“A primary election shows that the parties are open possibility for all candidates to lead the country,” he said.

Muslim-based PPP’s central board member Irgan Chairul Mahfiz recently said that delegates might consider external candidates, such as Jusuf Kalla and Dahlan Iskan.

Marzuki Alie, a senior official with the Democratic Party, said he welcomed Gita and Jimly should they enter the race.

Parties are now making provisional lists of legislative candidates for the 2014 elections. These lists must be submitted to the General Elections Commission on April 22 at the latest.

It was revealed by tribunnews on Friday that two members of Muhammad Nazaruddin’s family, his brother M. Nasir and cousin Ayub Khan, are on the Dem’s list.

Nazaruddin is the disgraced former party treasurer, now serving time for graft.

In February last year, the House of Representatives’ ethics council decided to retain Nasir even after they found him guilty of violating the House’s code of ethics by making an unannounced prison visit to Nazaruddin late in the evening.

The move raised suspicion of political intervention in the prosecution of Nazaruddin. Nasir was later transferred to House Commission XI overseeing finance, national development planning, banking and non-bank financial institutions.

Marzuki immediately dismissed the concern.

“We cannot eliminate someone just because he or she is a blood relative; it’s like a rights violation,” Marzuki said.

“We use capacity and integrity to determine whether or not he or she deserves to be on the list.”

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