Tommy Soeharto told Kompas he was different from other candidates - a convicted criminal now hoping to lead Indonesia's once almost invisible political party.

Tommy Soeharto told Kompas he was different from other candidates - a convicted criminal now hoping to lead Indonesia's once almost invisible political party.

Golkar Party member Hutomo Mandala Putro, aka Tommy Soeharto, officially announced his Golkar chairmanship bid on Thursday.

“Under the name of God, with the blessing of Golkar senior members and regional supporters, I declared my bid for Golkar chairman,” said Tommy, the youngest son of late president Soeharto.

Tommy claimed that after 10 years of absence from politics, he felt compelled to contribute to the party, which recently suffered a double defeat in both the legislative and presidential elections.

The North Jakarta District Court sentenced Tommy to 15 years in jail in 2002 for a premeditated murder and illegal possession of arms, but the Supreme Court cut his imprisonment to 10 years in 2002.

The government granted him a total of 31 months in remission before releasing him conditionally in October 2006, a verdict that saw many raised eyebrows over the government’s sense of justice.