07 January 2008

Gus Dur for President?

Gus Dur never seems to be far from the news, I think he likes it that way too! Gus Dur has made headlines by stating his intention to contest the 2009 Presidential elections not necessarily to win but more so in the Don Chipp vein of the Australian Democrats of "keeping the bastards honest!" Yet, the idea of Gus Dur running again in 2009 after the debacle of his candidacy in 2004 raises some obvious questions.

The simple truth for Gus Dur is that he failed in 2004 because he was unable to satisfy the strict health conditions placed on individuals seeking the Presidency. Are the health conditions discriminatory? Well, the answer here depends on who is making the decisions and the subjectivity or objectivity of the decision maker. But the rules from 2004 have been maintained and without any reports suggesting that the former President's health has improved it seems likely that he would 'fail' any future medical tests ordered by the Election Commission.

Gus Dur is a skilled populist but this proved to be his undoing in his presidency as the bureaucracy and more importantly the more-established political interests were never able to settle into a routine. Gus Dur as a populist often saw him referred to as being like the wind; being able to blow in any direction required. This is an entirely different concept from adjusting one's sails to catch the wind and this is what most solidified opposition against him personally and his presidency.

Gus Dur is an enigmatic character and as such will garner support for any potential bid to return to the No. 1 chair. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this support will translate into enough pressure to get him through the health test phase let alone secure the votes needed to be elected.

The man is a valuable addition to the political scene in that in his own special way he does get the community talking about issues that are important to the broader community as a whole, which is always good from a news standpoint as it gives us journalists and wannabe journalists 'stuff' to right about! And it also gives comics an endless supply of material for parody.

No comments: