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Only few can enter Indonesian presidential race: analysts
Publication Date : 23-02-2013
With pollsters saying most parties will garner less than 25 per cent of the popular vote in the upcoming legislative election, the public will see no more than four candidates in the presidential election, a political analyst said on Thursday.
Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) analyst and State Islamic University (UIN) Jakarta lecturer Burhanuddin Muhtadi said that based on recent surveys on election participants’ electability, most parties would have to form a coalition to nominate a presidential candidate, as the law required that they secure 20 per cent of seats in the House of Representatives or 25 per cent of the popular vote to do so.
“We will see prolonged chaos in the legislature, as none of the 10 parties eligible to contest the election have a dominant [position]. They will have to seek potential merger partners in order to compete in the presidential election,” Burhanuddin said during the launching of his book Perang Bintang 2014 (Star Wars 2014) at UIN Jakarta.
The survey Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) released on Feb. 2 found that the Golkar Party would get the most votes (21.3 per cent) if the election was held today. Golkar was followed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 18.2 per cent and the Democratic Party with 8.3 per cent. The study sampled 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 3 per cent.
Golkar has nominated its chairman, Aburizal Bakrie, as its presidential candidate. PDI-P chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri will likely run for president for the third time after being twice defeated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Democratic Party.
Burhanuddin said the situation would not change significantly should the 2008 Presidential Election Law that regulates the presidential nomination threshold remain intact. “The House of Representative should revise the election law and allow more people to compete in the presidential election,” Burhanuddin said. “These parties are forcing us to choose from a limited number of unqualified presidential candidates if the law is not revised.”
A number of high-profile figures have been touted as potential presidential candidates in many surveys, but their prospects to enter the 2014 race remain slim.
According to the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) poll released in November last year, 79 per cent of a total 223 respondents said that Kalla was the most capable presidential candidate, followed by Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD.
Another public opinion poll conducted by Jakarta Survey Institute (LSJ) found that Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was the most electable political candidate for the 2014 presidential election with 21.2 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for him if the election was held today.
UIN Jakarta rector and prominent Muslim scholar Komaruddin Hidayat said that the press played a big role in introducing these new figures. “The public can easily be stirred by the media. The media should also promote figures who have the ability to become a president but have yet to gain a lot of popularity,” Komaruddin said.
Mahfud MD, who attended the book launching at UIN, said that he was ready to join next year’s presidential candidate as long as he was backed by political parties that shared a similar ideology.
“I wouldn’t mind becoming a presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate or just being a supporter,” Mahfud said.
Former vice president Jusuf Kalla also said that if opinion polls showed that he was one of most popular figures then he would run for office. “It depends on the viewers, if they still want to be entertained then I would love to sing,” Kalla said.