One month after he retired, General (ret.) Pramono Edhie Wibowo entered the world of politics. The former Army chief made as his launching pad, the Democrat Party National Coordinating Meeting, two weeks ago.
This former Special Forces commander is now a member of the Democrat Party Governing Council, which is led by his brother-in-law, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Many observers had previously guessed he play a role, nevertheless Pramono's attendance at the meeting attracted undue public attention. Yet, not so long ago, he admitted to wanting to distance himself from politics. “I just want to be a soldier," he responded every time he was asked about becoming a presidential candidate.
Pramono remains reluctant to talk much. The son of the Army Special Forces commander in 1965, he is now determined to expand the Democrat Party. That is what he said at the opening of the Democrat Party national meeting in Jakarta.
You finally decided to go into politics.
Yes, I am officially a member of the Governing Council.
What was your reason to join the Democrat Party?
I want to help Pak Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in building up the Democrat Party. There is still time for me to dedicate myself to the people, to the nation and the state in other ways.
When did you make this decision?
Since beginning my retirement, I thought I would spend more time with my family because when I was actively in the military, I neglected family affairs. But then I was asked by Pak SBY whether I would join the party after I retired.
And your answer?
I did not immediately reply because I had to consult with my wife and children. I needed time to think about it. That's what Pak SBY himself suggested, particularly since it would be a heavy mission and I had to involve the opinions of my family. No matter what, committing oneself to the state is everything.
What did your family say?
At first they asked me to rethink it. They allowed me to do so long as I was able to share my time with them.
Will you take part in the convention to nominate a presidential candidate?
At this time, I'm thinking of attending any convention. I'm a new party man. It wouldn't be proper and it's too early. Besides, there are many other people better than me.
Didn't SBY ask you to attend the convention?
Nothing yet from Pak SBY. There's still time. At the moment, I am learning about national meetings and the Democrat Party itself.
The complete story is available on print in this week's edition of Tempo English (July 8-14).