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Tommy Suharto Is Running For President Of Indonesia

If Trump can do it, why not Tommy?

The youngest child of Suharto, Hutomo Mandala Putra, who goes by Tommy Suharto, can't stop chasing his dream of becoming president of Indonesia one day. Two small parties without any legislative seats have backed the former race car driver for president in 2019.

Partai Swara Rakyat Indonesia (Parsindo) and Partai Berkarya are the two parties who backed Tommy for the upcoming 2019 campaign. Parsindo General Secretary, Ahmad Hadari, said that the party is raising campaign funds from provinces throughout Indonesia to propel their pick for 2019 into Merdeka Palace.


That was not the first time that former-president Suharto's son has tried to run for Indonesia's highest office. Tommy tried to run for president in 2014 as part of the Golkar party, but failed to gain enough support from its members.

"We are certain that the 2019 election will be a battle between Suharto's successor and Sukarno's successor, Megawati Sukarnoputri from PDI Perjuangan party," says Ahmad Hadari told Tempo.

According Ray Rangkuti, a political observer with the Civil Society Coalition for Indonesia, the possibility of another Suharto becoming president of Indonesia is very unlikely. "Tommy has no political strength whatsoever right now. The parties that support him are too small for him to have any chance."

According to Rangkuti, Tommy has no chance as long as he keeps glorifying his father's legacy. He believes that the young post-Suharto generation are more educated about the nation's history.

"Right now Tommy wouldn't receive enough support, it's impossible for him to succeed. It takes time. He needs to make a breakthrough with fresh ideas that go above and beyond the current situation, not just glorify the past," Rangkuti said.

Rangkuti does not believe that the New Order—spearheaded by Tommy's father Suharto—will be making a comeback. "The rumor that New Order will resurrect is nothing new. Previously Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana [Suharto's daughter] founded a party that was supposed to do this, but what happened to that? We don't hear anything about it anymore," says Rangkuti

Rangkuti said that during the 51st memorial of Supersemar, a core founding principle of the Suharto regime, at Masjid At-Tin in East Jakarta this past weekend showed that there was still plenty of appetite for power and influence among the Suharto family.

Tobias Basuki from Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told the BBC that the Supersemar memorial was not just set up not to gain support for candidates in the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial race, but to also serve as Tommy's debut on the political stage. According to Tobais, "Tommy Soeharto did everything he could to make a comeback. It's the joint effort of certain political parties."