Losing candidates may not lend support
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Previously claiming to be one united front to dethrone the incumbent Fauzi Bowo, the losing candidates following Jakarta’s gubernatorial election appeared disinclined to throw their support behind Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who is set to compete with Fauzi in the Sept. 20 runoff.
South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin, who previously stated that any candidate facing Fauzi in the runoff would earn support from the losing candidates, hinted that his party would not support Jokowi in the second round. “The agreement [to support whoever faces Fauzi in the second round] is actually no more than a political strategy to deal a severe blow to the incumbent,” Alex said on Thursday.
Alex’s statement was echoed by Golkar Party’s deputy secretary-general, Nurul Arifin, who said that her party would not support Jokowi. “The benefit [of forming a coalition with the political parties supporting Jokowi] is not significant,” she said.
Jokowi and his running mate, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, are supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), who respectively control 11 and six seats out of a total of 94 on the City Council.
In a move seen as strengthening his political foothold ahead of the election’s second round on Sept. 20, Jokowi met Hidayat Nur Wahid on Wednesday, the only candidate earning a double-digit percentage of votes besides Jokowi and Fauzi, according to several quick counts.
However, Hidayat, who is backed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said he could not guarantee that Jokowi would gain his support in the second round. “The PKS executives will have the final say on the decision [to form a coalition with Jokowi],” Hidayat said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, independent candidates Faisal Basri and Hendardji Soepandji have also stated that they would endorse neither Jokowi nor Fauzi, saying that their respective supporters had the freedom to vote for whomever they deemed capable to lead Jakarta.
“Well, that’s what we are all about: independence!” Faisal exclaimed when asked by the The Jakarta Post why he had decided not to support a specific candidate for the Sept. 20 election.
The deal among the five candidates to support any one of them facing Fauzi in the second run, according to Hendardji’s running mate, Ahmad Riza Patria, was “merely an informal agreement that was non-binding”.
Once considered an underdog compared to the highly popular Fauzi, Jokowi unexpectedly came out on top in the Jakarta gubernatorial election on Wednesday, successfully garnering around 42 percent of the total ballots cast compared to Fauzi’s 33 percent.
The result has come as a surprise to many, especially to various pollsters who predicted prior to polling day that Jokowi’s electability stood at only around 14 to 20 percent.
PDI-P legislator Effendi Simbolon expressed his optimism that Jokowi would become the capital’s next governor, predicting that Fauzi’s loyal supporters would eventually turn to Jokowi in the Sept. 20 election due to Jokowi’s down-to-earth personality.
Effendi also denied that Jokowi was being left out in the cold by major political parties on the City Council. “Many parties have approached us already,” he said on Thursday. (sat/cor)