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Kalla likely to run with Yudhoyono

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Indonesia Elections 2009
Kalla likely to run with Yudhoyono

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has hinted at his readiness to stand as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s running mate in the 2009 presidential election, reported local daily the Jakarta Post.

“I will accept any position as long as I can contribute to the development of the country,” he was quoted as saying Monday.

The paper said that Kalla’s plans for the election are subject to the wishes of the Golkar Party, of which he is chairman. “In the end it will depend on Golkar’s decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Kalla said he and Yudhoyono had been getting along quite well during the past four years and that there would be no problem if they were to team up again for the presidential election.

Yudhoyono broke months of silence on Sunday by declaring he would run for reelection next year and that Kalla would very likely be his running mate.

Golkar politicians have welcomed news of Yudhoyono’s apparent intention to pick Kalla as his running mate.

Golkar deputy chairman Theo L. Sambuaga voiced his delight with the announcement, saying it was what most of the party’s members wanted.

“It represents the wishes of most Golkar members and leaders. Most of us still view the pair as the best for the country,” he said.

Yudhoyono, who won a landslide victory in the country’s first direct presidential election in 2004 over former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, is still seen by many as the strongest contender for president.

A series of recent surveys has shown the election could be a repeat of his 2004 duel with Megawati.

Political experts, however, have warned that in leaning toward Kalla, the President could be limiting his opportunities to gather support from other major political parties, including longtime ally the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

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