Indonesia's democratic party may form own coalition

Indonesia's democratic party may form own coalition
Democratic party chairman President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would have the authority to decide on the two options.

Despite a slump in performance in the April 9 legislative election, the ruling Democratic Party is confident about its chances in the July 9 presidential election and expects to nominate its own presidential ticket.

The party's decision could deal a blow to the Gerindra Party's plan to nominate its chief patron Prabowo Subianto as its presidential candidate, as it could lure medium-sized parties away from joining a Gerindra-led coalition.

"It's still possible for us to establish and lead our own coalition with the purpose of nominating our presidential candidate, but also the option to join a coalition of other parties and have our politician as a vice presidential candidate is still on the table," Democratic Party deputy secretary-general Andi Nurpati said on Tuesday.

Andi added that party chairman President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would have the authority to decide on the two options.

Analysts earlier suggested that the Democratic Party's chances of nominating its own presidential candidate were very small because the party would face an uphill struggle to create a large enough coalition to meet the 25 per cent popular vote requirement.

However, as political parties intensify efforts to build coalitions for the July 9 presidential race, medium-sized parties are mulling the option of reviving the so-called "central axis", a grouping of parties, mostly Islamic-based, which successfully brought Muslim cleric Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid to the country's presidency in 1999.

"This union of medium-sized parties could be led by the Democratic Party," said IndoBarometer political analyst M. Qodari.

Qodari, however, warned the coalition's presidential candidate would struggle to compete with the two strongest contenders; the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo.

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