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September 7, 2008

Indonesia: Presidential Election 2009
Gus Dur hints support for Yusril

Former president Abdurahman Wahid has given a hint he will support former minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra in the presidential election next year, reported national news agency Antara.

Gus Dur, as Wahid is popularly called, told reported in Jakarta Saturday that if he later could not run for president he must support other candidates.

"I have to support other candidates and the one who is close to me is Yusril," he said after receiving Yusril at the Nahdlatul Ulama office.

Gus Dur who is chairman of the advisory board of the National Awakening Party (PKB) said he had initially intended to join the presidential race in 2009 but "the Election Commission would not allow me."

Yusril who is chairman of the advisory board of the Moon and Star Party (PBB) admitted the topic of his meeting with Gus Dur was his intention to run for president.

"We have long known each other, been close friends and helped each other since 1999," he said.

Yusril along with Gus Dur and Megawati Soekarnoputri took part in the presidential election in 1999 but at the last moment he dropped out of the race and supported Gus Dur who then was elected as the fourth president of the country beating Megawati.

Yusril said with support from Gus Dur he was more optimistic about his chances in the election. "God willing, we will go ahead and never retreat," he said.

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