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Mulyani presidential material, say analysts
Sat, May 22, 2010
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has been hailed as a potential candidate for the presidential election in 2014 after emerging from the political controversy over Bank Century with her integrity intact, say analysts.

The notion even emerged in the House of Representatives with one lawmaker screaming "Presidential candidate 2014!" while Mulyani was delivering her farewell speech at a plenary session on Thursday.

Mulyani, who will take up a position as a managing director at the World Bank just under president Robert Zoellick, said Tuesday that her move was the result of a "political marriage".

Analysts suggested that Mulyani was referring to the newly revamped political coalition between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party and the Golkar Party.

Mulyani has repeatedly been at odds with Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie.

In her speech on Tuesday Mulyani said she could no longer exist in a political system in which ethics had become a rare virtue. But her departure does not mean she has lost against such officials, she said.

"I won because I couldn't be dictated to by those who don't want me here," she said.

Analyst Burhanuddin Muhtadi from the Indonesian Survey Institute said Mulyani's "contrasting image" to Yudhoyono made her a promising presidential candidate at a time when the President seemed to have lost his charm.

"Her chance to be a presidential candidate in 2014 is really open because of a leadership crisis after SBY (ends his second term). The people are expecting a figure that has the capacity and competency to run in 2014," he said.

"There's a bright contrasting image between her and SBY. The President is seen as a slow, indecisive figure, while Mulyani is firm, and uncompromising," he said.

Muhtadi said the media portrayed Mulyani as a political victim, which benefited her as Indonesian people were known to be "melodramatic".

In 2004 Yudhoyono was also seen as a victim of the administration of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri. He used that image to his advantage to win the presidential election, analysts said.

There are "five Ms" needed to run as a strong presidential candidate, said Muhtadi. The five Ms are man or woman, political machine, media, money and momentum.

"I think Mulyani needs a strong political operator to support her. The media was divided over the Century case because she did not have a strong operator," he said.

Analyst Yudi Latif from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences said it was "too early" to say whether Mulyani would be a strong presidential candidate for 2014.

"It's just a response of disappointment with SBY, who has been inconsistent in his words and actions,"
he said.

Yudhoyono said that Mulyani made the right decision to bail out Bank Century, but did not intervene when she was bullied by lawmakers, said Yudi.

"I think there should be pre-conditions to run as a presidential candidate, such as political backing. I think only the Democratic Party may support her and that's if SBY agrees," he said.

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