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Jakarta Post

PDI-P on verge of endorsing Kalla

  • Bagus BT Saragih, Sita W. Dewi and Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 25, 2014   /  09:37 am

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) will announce the running mate of its presidential nominee, Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, within a few days, with former vice president Jusuf Kalla said to be the most likely candidate.

Kalla, who is very popular in the eastern regions, particularly South Sulawesi, is believed to be able to boost Jokowi'€™s electability, which has been severely undermined by the continuous negative campaigns of his political rivals.

Several media outlets on Thursday published reports on Kalla already being named Jokowi'€™s running mate. Several PDI-P politicians denied the reports, but none ruled out the possibility of pairing Jokowi with Kalla.

'€œ[The announcement of my running mate] will be made in a day or two,'€ Jokowi told reporters on Thursday, when asked about his possible running mate.

Media reports said that Megawati Soekarnoputri, PDI-P chair, had been considering three vice presidential candidates, after narrowing them down from five.

The three are reportedly Kalla, former Army chief of staff Ryamizard Ryacudu and former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD.

Several pollsters have said Jokowi would win if paired with any of the three but electability was highest with Kalla aboard.

Kalla, a former Golkar Party chairman, has been consistently touted by analysts as the best option for Jokowi, thanks to his previous government experience and vast business network.

Despite his status as a Golkar member, Kalla is accepted by many parties, such as the National Awakening Party (PKB), which was touting Kalla as one of its potential presidential candidates even before the April 9 polls.

As a member of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia'€™s largest Islamic organization, Kalla would also be accepted among the country'€™s vast Muslim population, according to analysts.

But the effectiveness of the pair is put in question when it comes to seniority. Kalla is 72 years old as opposed to Jokowi'€™s 52. Analysts said Jokowi could be hesitant out of respect for Kalla.

But Jokowi brushed off the suggestion that the age difference would play a significant factor.

'€œThe most important thing is professionalism. As long as he or she is willing to work hard and for the people, I will be comfortable working with him or her,'€ he said.

PDI-P secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo refused to comment on Kalla'€™s nomination.

He only said that the announcement regarding Jokowi'€™s running mate would not be made in the near future.

'€œWe are still waiting for the final result of the legislative election,'€ he said.

'€œWe are also still conducting assessment because the vice presidential post is a very important and strategic position that will determine the future of this country. We are waiting for the right moment to declare this,'€ Tjahjo said, adding that the announcement would be made by Megawati and Jokowi himself.

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