Indonesian sultan to run for president
Indonesia's well-respected sultan of Yogyakarta announced his intention Tuesday to stand for next year's presidential election, reported dpa.
"Herewith, I am ready to go forward as a presidential candidate in the 2009 election," said Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. "This is to fulfill the summons of the fatherland."
Tens of thousands of his staunch supporters cheered him with chants of "Long live the sultan."
Local media reports said at least seven kings from across the country were also attending the gathering in Central Java's cultural capital Yogyakarta, to express their support for Hamengkubuwono's bid for the presidency.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populous nation, is due to hold a parliamentary election on April 9, 2009, and a presidential vote a few months later.
Hamengkubuwono was hailed as one of the strongest presidential candidates from the Golkar Party, the country's largest political group, during the party's national leadership meeting last week.
Incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced last month that he would run for a second term, while former president Megawati Sukarnoputri has been nominated by her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.
Other political figures who expressed their interest in contesting the election include former Jakarta governor Sutijoso and former navy commander Slamet Subianto.
Former armed forces' commander Wiranto, the chairman of the newly established Hanura Party, is another high-profile politician who has expressed his willingness to contend.