The National Mandate Party’s (PAN) advisory council head, Amien Rais, and party chairman hopeful Zulkifli Hasan, have visited senior party members from Sumatra in Medan, North Sumatra, in a bid to garner support for a chairmanship race next month.
Zulkifli, who is also People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker, will run against incumbent Hatta Rajasa in a chairmanship race that will be held at a national congress set to start on Feb. 28. The new chairman will lead the party for the 2015 to 2020 period.
“Yes, this is for the congress,” said Amien on the sidelines of the meeting with the senior party members on Sunday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Amien reminded the party members that if Hatta is reelected for a second term, there would be status quo in the party; thus, he urged the party members to support Zulkifli.
“As a party advisor, I want the party to be rejuvenated,” said Amien, who is also one of Zulkifli’s in-laws.
- rejuvenated – diremajakan
Zulkifli’s daughter Futri Zulya Safitri married Amien’s son Ahmad Mumtaz Rais in 2011.
The PAN chairmanship race next month is expected to be dynamic, with Zulkifli, who has gained support from Amien as a cofounder and prominent figure in the party, challenging Hatta, who received strong support from former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his tenure.
Hatta served as coordinating economic minister and also became in-laws with Yudhoyono as his daughter Aliya Rajasa married Yudhoyono’s second son Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro Yudhoyono.
Hatta was also known as the key to Yudhoyono’s political approval during the general elections last year. His nomination as the running mate for former presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto also sealed support from PAN and Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party for Prabowo, despite Yudhoyono saying that he remained neutral.
Yudhoyono, however, is also known to have a good relationship with Zulkifli, who served as forestry minister during Yudhoyono’s second term as president.
Yudhoyono handpicked Zulkifli during a last-minute lobby that helped to secure victory for the opposition Red-and-White Coalition of political parties in the race to secure MPR leadership in October.
- handpicked – dipilih sendiri
Many PAN members have expressed support for both Hatta and Zulkifli, who are described as good friends and are both believed to bring good to the party, but they might be faced with a tough choice as Amien, who has an influential role in the party, expressed his rejection of Hatta’s reelection.
Neither of the hopefuls has declared their candidacy but their campaign teams have approached eligible voters nationwide.
- eligible – yg memenuhi syarat, pantas dipilih
Under the leadership of Hatta, PAN garnered 7.59 percent of votes in the legislative election last year, higher than in the 2009 election when the party won 6 percent of votes.