Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A number of big names have been said to be invited to a national convention to select a presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party .

The party plans to select a candidate through a convention to be held later this year to contest the president election in 2014.

The party will invite at least 15 candidates, both party members and non party members, to take part in the convention, a party official said .

Among the big names invited to the convention are Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, former chairman of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD, Minister for State Enterprises Dahlan Iskan and academician Anies Baswedan.

Non party leaders are expected to dominate the participants as only Marzuki Alie and Syarif Hasan of the party`s stalwarts are to joint in the contest in the convention.

Deputy chairman of the party`s central executive board Max Sopacua said the party had agreed to hold the semi-open system to find a presidential candidate.

In the previous two elections the party named as candidate its founding father Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who won both times.

Now Yudhoyono, currently the party general chairman, is barred by the constitution from running for the presidency for the third time.

"The candidates taking part in the convention must have high loyalty to the party, highly dedicated and able to win the sympathy of the people," Max said

This system will dismiss negative perception that the candidate must be especially close to the founding farther, Max added.

Anyone is welcome to join in the contest with certain requirements to be set by the party, he said.

The candidates would be selected by the Democrat Convention Committee, he said, adding the committee will cooperate with a survey agency to give a rating for each candidate.

Registration of interested candidates to take part in the convention will start in August, he said.

Currently preparations are in process and a mechanism will be set for the implementation of the convention, he said.

The Convention Committee and the Selection Committee will be formed before August, he said , adding the selection team is to be announced before the end of this month.

There will be time for political campaigns to the regions by the candidates, to be followed with surveys, he said.

Young leaders

Political observer from the Indonesian Science Institute (LIPI) and political researcher from the The Habibie Center Indria Samego lauded the inclusion of young candidates to take part in the convention.

Regeneration is needed in the country`s leadership and it is part of the dynamism of democracy, Indria Samego said.

J Kristiadi, a senior political observer from the Indonesian political think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said the country need a change.

"And only young fresh leaders could bring about change badly needed by the country," Kristiadi said.

He said young potential leaders such as Anies Baswedan, former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, leader of anti corruption movement Teten Masduki, energic politician Puan Maharani should not be blocked in their ambition to reach the highest position in the national leadership.

"They deserve and need support from public and political parties to take part in the national leadership . They are young and already have their own base of support," he said.

Most of the country`s young potential leaders, however, belong to no political parties .

Kristiadi said he hope political parties would not leave out the young energetic leaders even if they do not belong to the ranks of any political party.

He acknowledged that a candidate needs the support of political parties and the public to reach the national leadership.

It is the system adopted by the country as ruled by the country`s constitution, he said.

Meanwhile, former military chief retired army general and now coordinating minister for political affairs, law and security Djoko Santoso said he may register himself to take part in the convention.

"Yes, I will consider to join in the contest ," he said, adding he had good relations with the ruling party and its founder President Yudhoyono.

He said convention is a good system of finding the right candidate and it should be popularized.

He already established a new organization he named "Indonesia Adil, Sejahtera, Aman (ASA)" he plans to use as a forum to socialize his concept of leading the nation forward.

Indonesia ASA (just, prosperous and peaceful) was established on May 20, 2013 to coincide with the National Awakening Day.

Dahlan indicated he would see first how much the people would give their support for him before planning to run for presidency.

Gita Wirjawan said there has been no formal talks with Yudhoyono in his capacity of as general chairman of the Democrat Party about him to be invited to the convention.

"So far talks have been informal not specific," he said.

He said, however, he would take part in the convention if the party think he is good enough.

When asked to comment about reports that he was the strongest candidate to win the convention, he said," I am very much flattered if that is true."

He said he knew what the mass media said but only Yudhoyono knew the truth about the strongest candidate to win the convention.

Meanwhile, Syarief Hasan, the chairman in charge of daily running of the party, said the idea of convention had come from Yudhoyono, but he guaranteed there would be no intervention both from Yudhoyono and the party in the convention.

"There would be no intervention from the party or anyone," Syarief Hasan said after a seminar on the Pancasila, the country`s ideology earlier this week.

He said the convention would not be the same as one held by the Golkar Party , which adopted the system for the first time in 2004.

The Golkar`s convention was participated in by candidates selected by the party itself from within its ranks.

A political party could name a presidential candidate without coalition only when it won at least 20 percent of the 560 seats in the country`s House of Representatives.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2013