AHY interested in running as Presidential Candidate in 2024

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Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono. (Photo: Rayi Gigih)

IO, Jakarta – The Presidential Election for the period of 2024-2029 is still a long way off, but a number of figures that have the potential to be named as candidates for Indonesian president in the 2024-2029 period are being examined; on one occasion President Joko Widodo stated that Sandiaga Uno had considerable potential and opportunity to follow him as the number one person in Indonesia. Anies Baswedan and Basuki Tjahaja Purnama were also said to be part of the parties that would advance in the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election. 

In addition to those three names, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) has expressed his interest in moving forward for the Presidential Election in 2024. AHY, who is also the Chairperson of the Democratic Party Candidate at the Democratic Party Congress to be held next May, said that at this time he was still focused on learning the people’s aspirations throughout Indonesia and overseeing the consolidation of the Democratic Party. He also did not want to assume anything about the 2024 Presidential Election and wanted to prepare himself to carry out the tasks facing him. “I really do not want to be too far in supposition. I will continue to prepare myself. For me, I want to continue to prepare myself to carry out any tasks that, by God’s will, are charged to me,” he said after the Democratic Party’s Regional Leadership Council Consolidation Meeting (DPD) NTT, Tuesday (02/18/2020). 

For AHY, what is important to do now is to stay with the Democratic Party, visit regions to greet the community and hear their problems and aspirations. Even though today, Democrats are not in the national government, a number of regional heads are Democratic cadres. In addition to the internal consolidation of the party, AHY’s visit to NTT was to confirm preparations ahead of the 2020 elections. 

The eldest son of the 6th President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also said that in every region, there were many great Democrat Party cadres. For example, in NTT such as Kupang, Mayor Jefry Riwu Kore and Belu Regent Willybrodus Lay, some are even in the DPRD in both provincial and municipal regencies. “We admit that even though Democrats are not inside the government, Democrats still have great cadres in the regions, well, even at the center,” he said. 

AHY is a former candidate for deputy governor of DKI Jakarta in the 2017 elections. At that time, he was paired with DKI Jakarta Provincial Government civil servant, Sylviana Murni. However, AHY received the smallest number of votes of any other pair of candidates. And as a result, he failed to advance to the second round. In the 2017 DKI Election, Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno won the contest. The name AHY also sticks out ahead of the 2019 presidential election. Democrats hope that AHY can move forward to lobby a number of parties. However, he failed to become a candidate for presidential and vice-presidential elections in 2019. 

Increasing Selling Value 
Responding to the circulating news, Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Party, Andi Arief, denied this. “AHY did not mention that he was ready to become a presidential candidate in 2024; he does not suppose anything about it. If this about whatever task that is carried out by the Party, he states that he is ready to carry it out. So AHY does not talk about the long-term plan for presidential election,” Andi said in Jakarta, Wednesday (19/02/2020). 

Meanwhile, political observer from Pelita Harapan University (UPH), Emrus Sihombing, assessed that AHY’s attitude, as one who had not openly stated that he would take part in the 2024 Presidential Election, was normal. “It’s presenting himself as a humble figure, hence increasing his appeal to the public,” he said. 

According to Emrus, AHY’s attitude could increase positive responses from the electorate, since AHY would be perceived as not power-hungry so, in the end, it strengthens his positive image. He further said that any political party, including Democrats, should propose and prepare a presidential candidate that he would carry in the 2024 Presidential Election early on. That way, the candidates have at least four years to disseminate their ideas and programs to the public. 

“They can’t bring their candidates at the last minute before the election, just 1 year before the election and then nominate names A, B, C and the coalition with a certain party. That is not very good in democratic life. Even so, AHY needs to work hard and maximize himself if he wants to become a presidential candidate. Reflecting on his defeat in the 2017 DKI Election and the results of the Democrat Party’s vote which declined in 2019, it will be difficult for AHY to run as a Presidential Candidate judging from his acceptability in the public’s eyes. If this is maximized in the next 4 years and he can show rational ideas, which are measurable, needed by the community and can be used to solve problems, I think it can boost his acceptability in the public’s eyes,” he concluded. (dan)