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February 9, 2009

Indonesia Presidential Elections:
Yudhoyono yet to reveal running mate

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has declined to announce his running mate for the upcoming presidential election, sparking speculation that he wants to keep his options open rather than limiting himself to Vice President and Golkar Chairman Jusuf Kalla, reported local daily The Jakarta Post.

During the opening of his Democratic Party’s national meeting in Jakarta on Saturday, Yudhoyono told his supporters that the party should be very careful in naming vice presidential candidates for him.

“I ask the party not to name a candidate for vice president. Don’t give [them] hope, it is not good,” he said.

The president insisted that the Democratic party would announce its vice president candidates after the legislative elections were held on April 9.

The presidential election is slated for July 8.

Atte Suganda, a senior member of the Democratic Party hinted that Yudhoyono  has not decided who will accompany him in the upcoming election.

“The President is a polite politician, he does not want to hurt any body. As far as I know, he has not named Kalla as his candidate yet,” Atte, who is also senior lawmaker of the party, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Political experts were quick to suggested that Yudhoyono’s delay in naming Kalla as his running mate shows that he intends to break with Golkar if the Democratic Party secures 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives elections.

“The decision leaves both Kalla and Golkar hanging in the balance ahead of the elections and weakens their bargaining power against Yudhoyono,” Mohammad Qodari, executive director of polling firm Indo Barometer said Sunday.

“The delay also shows Yudhoyono is still in doubt about running with Kalla.”   

The Democratic Party, the fifth-largest in the 2004 election, opened its two-day national meeting on Sunday with the main agenda being how to win 20 percent of seats or 25 percent popular votes in legislative elections.

Achieving the target will allow Yudhoyono to rerun for a second term without having to form a coalition with other parties.

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