Backing presidential candidates, PBR ready to support Prabowo

Lampung Post – December 16, 2008
Prabowo Subianto and Bursa Zarnubi (Tempo)
Prabowo Subianto and Bursa Zarnubi (Tempo)

Jakarta (Dtc/Lampost) – The Star Reform Party (PBR) is continuing to select presidential candidates who are suitable for support at its convention. Although up until now the party’s presidential candidate – in line with the PBR’s convention – has been Rizal Ramli, this has still left open the possibility of them switching their support to the late President Suharto’s former son-in-law Prabowo Subianto.

“Basically our party’s mission is almost the same as Prabowo’s mission. It is likely that we would support him providing that Prabowo is prepared to enter into and is agreeable with the central axis1“, said PBR general chairperson Bursah Zarnubi in Jakarta on Tuesday December 15.

Zarnubi said that his party is ready to conduct political communication with the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra Party) built by Subianto. This is because struggling for the wishes of the common people in the agricultural and fisheries sector represents a special draw card possessed by Subianto2. “I’m ready to conduct political communication with Prabowo”, said Zarnubi.

The PBR’s readiness to support Subianto began when the party’s founder, Zainuddin M.Z., declared his support for the former commander of the army’s elite Special Forces (Kopassus). Moreover the proselytizer with a million religious followers became an issue over rumors that had “jumped the fence” and joined the Gerindra Party, which is backing Subianto as their presidential candidate.

Later on however, the Gerindra party, through party general secretary Ahmad Muzani, clarified the issue and denied that Zainuddin had joined the party. At the time he said, Zainuddin was not registered either as a party member or as being on the party’s management board.

Muzani did however admit that there was a closeness between Zainuddin and Subianto and that Zainuddin has claimed that he is ready to support Subianto as a presidential candidate in the 2009 elections. “Those were Pak Zainuddin’s words, if Mas [brother] Prabowo becomes a presidential candidate, Zainuddin will backup and support Mas Prabowo”, said Muzani.

Muzani explained that the closeness between Zainuddin and Subianto was forged a long time ago. The ties of friendship were formed when Subianto still held the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then during the Ramadan fasting month last September, Zainuddin as the chairperson of the Betawi Families Foundation together with Subianto visited slum areas in Jakarta. nK-03


1. On December 10 Muhammadiyah chairperson Din Syamsuddin called for the formation of a new strategic coalition of Islamic based political parties to win the 2009 legislative and presidential election, saying that the “central axis” is intended to “maintain the political representation of Islam” in Indonesia.

2. In addition to controlling the Energy Nusantara Group with assets of around US$1 billion, Subianto also heads a number of other social organisations such as the Indonesian Farmers Association (HKTI) and the Association of Indonesian Market Traders (APPI), to which he has contributed large sums of money and is counting on as a mass base of votes in next year’s elections.

[Translated by James Balowski.]