Nomination of gubernatorial hopefuls ends long speculation

The drama played by leaders of political parties over candidates to contest the forthcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election has ended.

It is now left for the people of Jakarta to make their choice of the candidates, they think more capable to cope with the host of problems besetting the capital city.

The political parties have been divided into three coalitions each with a pair of candidates – for governor and vice governor.

PDIP, the countrys ruling party with the largest number seats at the City Council, and Nasdem, Hanura and Golkar, make up one of the coalition nominating the pair of incumbent Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama better known as Ahok and Vice Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat to retain their jobs.

The coalition of four minority parties – Democrat Party, United Development Party (PPP), National Awakening Party (PKB) and National Mandate Party (PAN) – came up with relatively new faces and politically untested Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono with his running mate Sylviana Murni.

Agus, an army major, is known more only because he is a son of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, now general chairman of the Democrat Party.

Another coalition of two parties – Gerindra that has the second largest seats in the City Council and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)- came to announce its candidate almost at the last minutes for official registration with the Election Commission on Friday. The two parties, which are what remains of formerly powerful coalition of seven parties opposing President Joko Widodo, nominated former Education Minister Anies Baswedan and rich businessman Sandiaga Uno.

The official nominations of the three pairs ended long speculation as well as hopes of a number of other hopefuls like Yusril Ihza Mahendra, who is general chairman of the party, Partai Bulan Bintan (PBB), which has no representative at the City Council, Mardano Ali Sera, a PKS politician, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, former Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli, a City Council member Haji Lulung, and Batang Regent Yoyok Riyo.

Popular Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini, who is seen as the most potential to beat Ahok, rejected all attempt to coax her to be involved in the Jakarta political scrambling.

Ahok, who belongs to no political party, has consistently topped voters polls.

He is popular for his firm leadership, hard working, and clean, but he also has created haters with his bold moves to evict thousands of long squatters from riverside slum areas in the city in order to cope with annual disastrous flooding.

His running mate Djarot, a PDIP cadre, has a developed a good reputation as a successful mayor of the city of Blitar of East Java in two terms.

Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Sylviana Murni, had come as a surprise to many observers. The two had emerged from nowhere politically .

His outstanding career in the military is doubted to help him politically . He and his running mate have never been included in polls for their political weight.

Sylviana Murni, a senior official of under Governor Ahok, is expected to assist Agus in the city administration if they win the election.

Anies Baswedan, an intellectual, is also relatively new in politics. He teams up with soft spoken Sandiaga Uno, originally groomed by Gerindra to face Ahok. But apparently Sandiaga, who never came near Ahok in polls, is considered no match for outspoken and popular incumbent. Sandaia also indicated he was satisfied with the position as candidate for vice governor.

As an independent candidate before he later agreed to be nominated by political parties, Ahok already won pledge of support from more than one million volunteers grouped in Friends of Ahok.

Working programs

Ahok, an ethnic Chinese and a Christian, said he hoped the people of Jakarta, a predominantly Muslim city, made their choice based on the working program of the contestants.

The people should not consider candidates for their race and religious backgrounds.

“I believed Bung Karno, when giving birth to Pancasila was very much aware of the meaning of Habluminallah and Hablum minannas in Islam, or how to love God and fellow human beings in Catholic,” he said.

He said his candidacy with Djarot is a reflection of diversity in Indonesia in line with values of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), the Indonesian slogan.

“This is not a question of winning the election. This is to show that after 71 years of Indonesian independence, we have not cast vote for leader on the color of his skin like the United States which took 200 years to accept diversity,” he said apparently referring to the election of the first black American, Barack Obama. as president.

He said he acknowledge there are still deficiencies in what he had done as Jakarta governor and that he would accept healthy criticism.

Djarot said as incumbents Ahok and him still have unfinished job to be done in the next five years.

“Five years are not enough for Jakarta development. More time is needed to carry out and finish the program.

“This is for all people of Jakarta as the miniature of Indonesia,” he said after a meeting with Surya Paloh, the general chairman of Nasdem.

Surya Paloh said he hoped that the incumbent candidates were allowed by the people of Jakarta to carry out and finish the program in developing the capital city.

“We have high hope in the pair of Ahok-Djarot . They have performed well and we hope they would continue the good job,” he said.

Meanwhile Yusril Ihza Mahendra said the decision of PDIP in nominating the pair of Ahok-Djarot gave a false hope for other candidates.

The fit and proper test of Ahok and Djarot by the party had changed nothing, Yusril said, adding “as even from the beginning PDIP leader Megawati Soekarnoputri had been in favor of the pair.”

He said the registration opened for other hopefuls was also meaningless as at the end the candidacy was given to one not in the list of candidates.

Yusril was among those registering with the party for the candidacy.

“We now understand each other. The process of selection has been made and finished , but at the end it was all up to Megawati,” he said.

In the future a party, which already has a favorite candidate should not give false hopes to others, a move that would cause only disappoint to other candidates, he said.

Close to People

Deputy General Chairman of the Democrat Party Syarief Hasan said if a candidate wanted to win the election he or she must be close to the people.

Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono , the party candidate pledged to create a clean administration, transparent and accountable,”if God willing and the people of Jakarta have trust in me and Sylviana Murni.”

Gerindras Anies Baswedan said the people of Jakarta have the right to elect a “humane leader, protective with policy that would improve the welfare of the people and educate the people to be part of the world community.”

“Mr Sandi ((Sandiaga) and me are determined to fully pay for the promises given not only to the city but more to the people of the city,” he said.

He promised he and his running mate would step in to the forum of democracy offering working programs to the people .

He said he hope the the election would be a gratifying arena of democracy “not one intended to bring down others.”

“Jakarta, which is better, not merely the city being more beautiful , but more important is the people are happier with the spirit of mutual assistance,” he added.

On 15 February 2017, more than 7.43 million of people of Jakarta are expected to go to the polls to elect a new governor of the city.

Source: Antara News