SBY’s Family May Yet Have a Crack At 2014: Legislator

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s denial that he was grooming a successor from within his family ahead of the 2014 presidential polls should be taken with a grain of salt, a lawmaker said on Friday.

Golkar Party deputy treasurer Bambang Susatyo said the public should not simply accept Yudhoyono’s comment that “I won’t be a presidential candidate in 2014, and neither will my wife or my children.”

Bambang said the statement on Thursday was telling.

“He said everybody had the constitutional right to run, and when it came to the candidate it would be up to the public to decide,” he said.

“This means that if the people want the president’s wife to run for president, then there’s nothing wrong with that.”

In an address on Thursday to the Indonesian Young Leaders Forum 2011, Yudhoyono, from the Democratic Party, said the talk of him building a dynasty was wrong. He said he felt it was important to address the issue because of speculation that he was putting together a campaign team to possibly run for president himself, despite being prohibited from running by term limits.

“I won’t need a campaign team in 2014 because by then I’ll be past my expiry date,” he told the audience.

Bambang advised the public to revisit the statements Yudhoyono had made before the 2004 presidential elections, when he was serving as the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

“At the time, Yudhoyono told [then] President Megawati [Sukarnoputri] and the public that he would not be running for president,” Bambang said.

“The fact is, though, he was preparing himself and strategizing, and eventually ran as a presidential candidate, using the reason that he had the support of the Indonesian people . In politics, sometimes what is said is not what one means. It could be the total opposite.”

Marzuki Alie, the House of Representatives speaker who hails from the Democrats, said his party’s candidate would not be decided by Yudhoyono alone, but rather by a so-called High Commission within the party.

The body is led by Yudhoyono and consists of several senior party officials, Marzuki said.

“So the president’s comments should be seen as personal comments,” he said.

“It’s an internal party matter. It could be that Yudhoyono doesn’t want his family members to run. But if the High Commission disagrees, it could happen.”

Priyo Budi Santoso, House deputy speaker from Golkar, said the president’s comments about succession should be recognized as a commitment to concentrate more on developing the nation rather than worrying about the 2014 elections.

“I don’t know whether his comments refer to the current state of national politics,” he said.

“What I do know is the Democratic Party actually has many figures who could be nominated as presidential candidates.”

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