Wed, 13 Aug 2003

19 meet requirements for Golkar presidential bid

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Golkar Party announced on Tuesday that a total of 19 party figures, including party chairman Akbar Tandjung, had met all the administrative and legal requirements to be allowed to participate in the upcoming convention to select a single presidential candidate, although they had yet to present their vision and mission statements.

The convention's organizing committee said the 19 candidates who had passed the preliminary selection process would now have to present their vision, mission and integrity statements before being declared eligible to participate in the party's convention to be held in February, 2004.

The deputy secretary of the organizing committee, Rully Chairul Azwar, said here on Tuesday that the committee would hold a meeting on Aug. 21 to determine which of the 19 figures would be declared qualified to stand for the presidential nomination during the party's convention.

"All the presidential aspirants will now participate in the next stage of the selection process. The convention's organizing committee will ask the 19 candidates to present their vision, mission and integrity statements before they are declared qualified to take part in the later selection processes during the planned convention," he said.

Separately, Akbar expressed his desire to contend the party's presidential nomination, saying he would not quit the race despite increasing criticism.

Akbar said that all people, be they Golkar executives or not, were allowed to participate in the convention. "There is no reason for me to quit the race," Antara quoted Akbar as saying in Medan, North Sumatra.

The most important thing, he said, was that all the aspirants complied with the ground rules set by the organizing committee.

Many politicians and political observers have reacted cynically to the planned convention, which they said was aimed only at repairing the party's tarnished image. The party has been condemned for its role as the political vehicle of former president Soeharto's authoritarian and corrupt regime.

Many are also cynical about Akbar's presidential ambitions, which he continues to harbor despite his conviction for graft. The Central Jakarta District Court last year sentenced Akbar to three years imprisonment for his involvement in a Rp 40 billion corruption case. The Jakarta High Court upheld this conviction. His appeal has yet to be heard by the Supreme Court.

In order to pave the way for Akbar's bid, the convention's organizing committee has revised the procedural requirements for the convention.

Previously, every contestant had to show a police certificate of good conduct to be allowed to take part in the convention. But, the committee later revised this regulation so that the production of such a certificate was no longer mandatory.

Separately, Golkar figure Marzuki Achmad said the increasing criticism of the party was a good thing, claiming that it showed the party belonged to the whole people

He also called on party figures to react positively to the increasing criticism.

Golkar presidential nomination contenders

No. Name

1. Aburizal Bakrie

2. Akbar Tandjung

3. Anwar Fuadi

4. Haryono Suyono

5. Jusuf Kalla

6. Kemala Motik

7. Marwah Daud Ibrahim

8. Muhono

9. Muladi

10. Nurullah Marzuki

11. Prabowo Subianto

12. Riafi Siata

13. Setiawan Djody

14. Sultan Hamengkubuwono X

15. Surya Paloh

16. Thabrani Rab

17. Theo L. Sambuaga

18. Tuti Alawiyah

19. Wiranto

Source: Golkar Party