Surabaya. Although the 2014 presidential elections are still a few years away, names of possible candidates were already emerging over the weekend.
The Nahdlatul Ulama Savior Movement (GPNU), linked to the country’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), is calling on NU-affiliated political parties to support the presidential candidacy of Mahfud MD, chairman of the Constitutional Court (MK).
“Since Abdurrahman Wahid passed away, NU has been lost without a leading figure of firm and open statesmanship,” GPNU chairman Khoirul Rijal said.
“Mahfud MD’s controversial calls for corruption within the Constitutional Court to be publicly unraveled is proof that he is a true reformist — just what the country needs these days.”
One month ago, legal expert Refly Harun published an opinion piece in the Kompas daily alleging that certain plaintiffs had paid for the Constitutional Court to rule in their favor during an electoral dispute.
Mahfud invited the lawyer to assemble an investigative team to follow up on his allegations.
The team found that family members of one of the court’s nine judges and a court clerk may have received money from a plaintiff.
Khoirul called on all NU-affiliated political parties, such as the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Ulema National Awakening Party (PKNU) and the United Development Party (PPP) to nominate Mahfud as their candidate for the 2014 election.
“We shouldn’t let him be nominated by non-NU parties,” Khoiral said.
While the various NU-affiliated political parties have generally remained divided and disparate, the presidential election would be a good occasion for these parties to unite, he said, “including by jointly promoting Mahmud MD for the presidency.”
He added that NU should not lag behind the other parties and should nominate its presidential candidate early.
Prabowo Subianto, founder of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), has once again announced his intention to run for the presidency.
In his opening address to a regional coordination meeting of the party in Surabaya over the weekend, Prabowo said his bid for the presidency was not based out of an egotistical pursuit.
“What would be the purpose of becoming president just for the sake of being praised? My intentions are pure, to bring changes to this country and to defend the Indonesian people,” Prabowo said.
He said that as president, and with the full support of the House of Representatives (DPR), “it will be easy for me to do the best for this nation and state.”
Acting chairman of the East Java chapter of Gerindra, Supriyatno, said it was still unclear who Prabowo’s vice presidential candidate would be.
In the 2009 presidential election, Prabowo ran as the vice presidential candidate to Megawati Sukarnoputri, chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), at the last minute, but the duo lost to the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Boediono ticket.