Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta
If we are to believe the opinion polls conducted so far by
respected institutes, running mates Gen. (ret) Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono and businessman Jusuf Kalla have a good chance of winning
the July 5 elections. But television polls challenge the above
Born in the East Java town of Pacitan on Sept. 9, 1949, Susilo
was appointed as mining and energy minister by former president
Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid in 1999. He cofounded the Democratic
Party while he was considering quitting President Megawati
Megawati's husband Taufik Kiemas rebuked him publicly over his
decision to quit, which boosted Susilo's popularity.
Susilo, who has a masters degree in management from Webster
University in the United States is seen as one of the intellectuals
among the military and its retired officers. A number of foreign
governments reportedly favor the son-in-law of the late Gen. (ret)
Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, because of his stance against terrorism.
Critics, however, point out that the prolonged unrest in Nanggroe
Aceh Darussalam must also be attributed to the collapse in
negotiations with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) when Susilo was
coordinating minister for political and security affairs.
In the military Susilo last served in 1999 as chief of staff of
territorial affairs, a position earlier called the chief of staff of
social and political affairs.
In 1996 he served at the Jakarta military command as chief of
staff and is therefore also suspected of being linked to the violent
takeover of the headquarters of the then Indonesian Democratic Party
(PDI), of Megawati Soekarnoputri. However Susilo has denied any
links to the July 27 incident.
His running mate, Jusuf Kalla, withdrew his bid as a presidential
candidate under the Golkar Party to join Susilo. Supporters say that
his professional experience in the business sector compliment
Susilo's background in the military and the bureaucracy.
Born into a family of wealthy entrepreneurs in the South Sulawesi
town of Bone on May 15, 1942, the graduate of the Hasanuddin
University and the European Institute of Business Administration in
France is a successful businessman.
Kalla's first political post was in 1998 when he became the South
Sulawesi representative for the People's Consultative Assembly. The
father of five has been active in the Association of Islamic
Students (HMI), the Indonesian Student Action Front (KAMI),
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Golkar.
Both Susilo and Kalla were dismissed by president Abdurrahman
"Gus Dur" Wahid from the Cabinet.
Susilo was dismissed as chief security minister when he rejected
Gus Dur's instruction to implement a presidential decree declaring a
Kalla was dismissed for corruption charges when he was the
industry and trade minister. As coordinating minister of people's
welfare under President Megawati, he became popular for the peace
pacts he sponsored in Central Sulawesi, following communal riots in
Poso, and also in Maluku.