Indonesia: Kalla, Wiranto for prez

JAKARTA: Golkar party leader Jusuf Kalla and ex-military chief Wiranto have declared their bid to run as presidential and vice presidential candidates in Indonesia's upcoming elections.

Kalla and Wiranto announced the plan late Friday in a move likely to take the July polls to a second round in September.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is seeking re-election for a second five-year term and is the clear front-runner in opinion surveys.

Kalla was his vice president in the outgoing government but the pair had an uneasy relationship and Yudhoyono is understood to be seeking another running mate to push through his agenda of economic growth and clean government.

A Kalla-Wiranto ticket is expected to have no chance of winning the election but if ex-president Megawati Sukarnoputri also runs it will create a three-horse race and ensure the polls go to a second round.

Golkar, which was former dictator Suharto's political vehicle for three decades, won only about 14 percent of the vote in April legislative elections, neck-and-neck with Megawati's Democratic Party of Struggle.

Yodhoyono's Democratic Party gained more than 20 percent.

Undeterred by Golkar's performance and his own sagging popularity ratings, Kalla said a Kalla-Wiranto ticket had experience on its side.

"Wiranto and I are sure that we can overcome the difficulties ahead with our determination and strong experience. Any difficulty can be weathered if we are firm in our decisions," said the successful businessman-turned-politician.

"The businessman or military experiences can be used in creating a civil society of a nation," he added, without giving any details on the pair's intentions regarding policy.

Their decision to run together was announced hours after both men had sat at a table with Megawati and unveiled a new coalition of parties aligned against Yudhoyono.