Yudhoyono-Anas feud continues to shake Democratic Party
Margareth S. Aritonang
The Jakarta Post
Supporters of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the Democratic Party (PD) have called on former party chairman Anas Urbaningrum to stay silent and focus on his graft case rather than continue making personal attacks on the President, who is current party chairman.
Earlier on Tuesday, Anas, who was ousted as party chairman by Yudhoyono in March after being named a suspect in the Hambalang graft case, suggested that the President should run as a vice-presidential candidate to salvage the party's electability rating.
Anas said that Yudhoyono needed to be ready to make a similar sacrifice as he had made when the President unseated him in an extraordinary PD congress in Bali earlier this year.
'Anas' statement is really offensive. Pak SBY has been the president for two terms. It's embarrassing to suggest that he would take a position lower than what he holds now,' Democratic Party deputy chairman Max Sopacua said Thursday.
Max, a lawmaker on the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and informatics, said that Anas' statement could suggest that Yudhoyono was a power-hungry politician.
'I don't see anything positive from the statement. We all know that SBY can't run for a third time and this is why we decided to hold a presidential convention,' Max said.
The PD is currently holding its convention to select a prospective presidential candidate. Eleven contenders are vying for the nomination.
They include former Army chief of staff Gen. (ret) Pramono Eddhie Wibowo, speaker of the House Marzuki Ali, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan, and rector of Paramadina University Anies Baswedan and others.
Analysts have suggested that the convention was merely a ploy to legitimize the nomination of Pramono, who is the brother of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono.
Meanwhile, PD deputy secretary-general Ramadhan Pohan said that there was nothing the party could do to stop Anas from making derisive comments about Yudhoyono.
'We can't prohibit him from making such a statement. We live in a democracy now,' Ramadhan said.
Ramadhan suspected that Anas was being disingenuous in his statement.
'I don't know why he said what he said because Pak SBY has repeatedly said that neither he nor Ibu Ani would run in the election next year,' Ramadhan said, referring to the first lady.
Later on Wednesday, Anas reiterated his statement by saying that putting Yudhoyono forward as a vice presidential candidate could be a winning ticket.
According to Anas, Yudhoyono's nomination would attract political parties to build a coalition with the Democratic Party simply because Yudhoyono was the biggest name in the party.
'There are no figures in the party more respected than Pak SBY. [He is] the only sun in the Democratic Party,' Anas said.
Anas went on, saying that Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie, who has been officially nominated as the party's presidential candidate, would gladly allow Yudhoyono to be his running mate in the 2014 election.
Golkar Party politician Bambang Soesatyo agreed, saying that his party would be open to a proposal pairing Aburizal with Yudhoyono.
'If the ARB-SBY ticket were to materialize, I predict the Democratic Party would benefit,' he said.
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