Back to reality for losing candidates
Paper Edition | Page: 9
With his backpack strapped to his back, independent ex-candidate in the Jakarta gubernatorial election, Faisal Basri, rushed to his car, home-cooked meal in hand.
“I have to grab my lunch inside the car. I have so little time left. Come and join me,” he said prior to an interview with The Jakarta Post on Thursday, one day after various quick counts indicated that Faisal, with an electability rate of around 5 percent, had no chance of making it to the Sept. 20 runoff.
After election day, Faisal, economist at the University of Indonesia, will return to his life as an academic. He was on his way to a private university in Jakarta, to address a briefing for graduands before their commencement ceremony this weekend.
With no backing from any political party, Faisal told the Post that he was satisfied with the election’s unofficial result putting him ahead of South Sumatera Governor Alex Noerdin, who was backed by two of the country’s oldest political parties: Golkar and the United Development Party (PPP).
In contrast to Alex, who spent lavishly, Faisal had to spend his meager campaign funds prudently. To finance his campaign, Faisal even had to sell the house that he and his family had occupied for 10 years.
“Finishing the election above Alex shows that our democracy is more mature. Money politics is still there, but it is not as effective as in the past,” he said.
Like Faisal, other losing candidates coveting Jakarta’s top post are now ordinary citizens again after months of energy-sapping activity that put them on the center of a citywide stage.
Just like Faisal, Didik J. Rachbini, the running mate of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)-supported candidate Hidayat Nur Wahid, is also making a “comeback” to academic life.
“I am a lecturer. Teaching will always be part of my life,” said Didik, who lectures economics at the Mercu Buana University.
Meanwhile, Hendardji Soepandji said that he would return to his life as commissioner in a private company, which he plans to develop into a powerful corporation.
“I am not losing my motivation after this loss,” chuckled the 62-year-old retired army general, who finished bottom of the poll, with only 2 percent of the vote.
Hendardji also said that he would return to lead the Indonesian Karate Federation (FORKI). With Hendardji as their chairman, Indonesian karatekas surprisingly swept a total of 10 gold medals in last year’s South East Asian Games in Jakarta, far exceeding their pre-Games target of seven golds.
Among the candidates failing to make it into the second round, Alex and his running mate Nono Sampono are apparently the most disappointed.
On Wednesday, after various survey agencies finished their quick counts and announced that the Alex-Nono pair failed to make it, the two held a small-scale “wake” with their supporters at Nono’s residence in Tanjung Barat,
After Alex and Nono had thanked members of their campaign team in their tear-jerking speeches, musicians played dreary dirges giving the affair a funereal atmosphere.
“This is life,” Alex said in his speech, with tears streaming down his cheeks “I have never lost an election before. My three regional elections were followed by three consecutive victories. This, indeed, is a lesson from the Almighty.” (cor/sat)