Subject: Wiranto Ready for Presidential Candidacy

Jakarta Globe

January 11, 2009

News / National / Article

Camelia Pasandaran

Wiranto Ready for Presidential Candidacy

Wiranto, the head of the People’s Conscience Party, or Hanura, on Sunday officially declared himself as the party’s presidential candidate in an announcement that surprised few.

“I’m ready to be nominated as a presidential candidate ,” Wiranto said before the party’s national leadership meeting in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province.

Hanura, which became the political vehicle for the controversial former general after he left the Golkar Party, formally proposed Wiranto during its first national meeting in Jakarta in 2008 but delayed announcing his candidacy until the General Elections Commission, or KPU, declared the party was able to contest April’s legislative elections.

The head of the party’s national leadership meeting, Dewi Yasin Limpo, who read out the decision confirming Wiranto as its presidential candidate, called on all party members to work hard toward a Wiranto victory. Wiranto finished third in the 2004 presidential election when representing Golkar.

Wiranto, who has been accused of war crimes in East Timor when he was head of the Indonesian Armed Forces, said he saw no reason not to accept his party’s nomination.

‘The meeting has paved the way for Hanura to achieve its aspirations in the next election’

Wiranto, head of Hanura

He also said that his willingness to run was based on his experience as a presidential candidates in 2004. “This is not an emotional decision,” he said.

He believes he will secure more votes for Hanura based on the 26 million votes he received in the 2004 presidential election.

Outsiders, however, do not expect Wiranto, without the support of the Golkar machine, to fare well in the upcoming elections .

Wiranto said that the new party deserved to nominate its own presidential candidate.

“Hanura has a sufficient capabilities in terms of organizational structure and legality to have its own presidential candidate.”

After his announcement, he asked all party members to work towards fulfilling the minimum 20-percent requirement of seats in the House of Representative that would allow the party to field a presidential candidate without having to form a coalition.

This requirement remains a source of contention for Wiranto’s party.

Hanura and five other political parties have filed a judicial review with the Constitutional Court, demanding the court annul the 20 percent threshold.

Wiranto urged party candidates to campaign peacefully with one another in the lead up to the legislative elections.

“I don’t want clashes between Hanura candidates,” he said in reference to the Constitutional Court decision to replace the previous system ­ where the candidates are ranked ­ with an open majority voting system.

“All candidates now have the same opportunity according to the court verdict. So, we can forget the ranking system as we’re all candidates from Hanura.”

Wiranto also said that the national meeting was a success in that it had produced a seven-point strategy to contest the elections

“This meeting has paved the way for the Hanura Party to achieve its political aspirations in the next election.”

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