Jakarta poll forces parties to reevaluate
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The surprising first-place finish by Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election seems to be driving major political parties to reevaluate and change their strategies for the 2014 presidential election.
A quick count from Wednesday’s poll shows the Surakarta mayor garnered 42 percent of votes, defeating incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo, who collected 33 percent.
The result will see them battle it out in a runoff scheduled for Sept. 20.
Fauzi was backed by the Democratic Party, while Jokowi was nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party.
Golkar’s candidate, Alex Noerdin, came fifth with 4 percent, below independent candidate Faisal Basri who collected 5 percent of the votes.
“Even though our loss in the gubernatorial election doesn’t necessarily reflect the future, Golkar must consolidate in order to win the 2014 election,” Golkar lawmaker Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa told reporters on the sidelines of a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives on Friday.
Golkar patron Akbar Tanjung has warned that the party’s loss in the gubernatorial election will likely impact the candidacy of the party’s chairman, Aburizal “Ical” Bakrie, for the 2014 presidential race.
Golkar is one of three political parties that has already nominated its presidential hopeful. The other two are Gerindra and the National Mandate Party (PAN), which have nominated their respective chairmen, Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa.
In addition to strategies, the success of Jokowi in the gubernatorial election seems to have encouraged parties to consider forming coalitions to win the presidential election.
Senior Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician, Hidayat Nur Wahid, said the party would likely nominate one of its members to be the presidential aspirant.
Such a move would be seen as a sign that the party had grown stronger.
Hidayat said all PKS members had supported him in the Jakarta poll, in which he finished third.
“This [consolidation] is a powerful tool for us approaching the 2014 election if we can maintain it. I think we can nominate one of the leaders if we can fulfill the requirements,” Hidayat said.
He added that the fact that Jokowi was leading in the poll showed that neither religious nor ethnic affiliations played a crucial role in politics.
“Thus, we will no longer determine our collaboration with other political parties based on these elements. It is too naïve to support Governor Fauzi, for example, in the upcoming runoff just because he is a Muslim and has strongly defended Islamic values. Jokowi is also a Muslim yet he has garnered more votes than the governor,” Hidayat said, hinting that the PKS would adopt the same approach for the presidential election.
PDI-P patron Taufiq Kiemas said it was unlikely his party would maintain the collaboration for the 2014 presidential election.
“A successful collaboration in the gubernatorial election doesn’t necessary mean that we will retain those ties for the upcoming presidential election.”