Coalition parties likely united in backing Fauzi in 2nd round poll
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Despite intensive political lobbying by the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo camp, the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) seems likely to back incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo in the Sept. 20 runoff.
Denny Iskandar, a member of the campaign team for the populist Surakarta mayor, said on Wednesday that the campaign had seen signs that the second-largest party in the city council was likely to support the incumbent.
“From what we can gather, it is likely [that PKS will support Fauzi].”
The Muslim-based party, however, was quick to deny the rumor.
Triwisaksana, chairman of the party’s local advisory board, said that PKS had yet to decide whom
“We will support [the candidate] who can fight for our agenda,” said Triwisaksana, whose party won 18 out of 94 seats at the city council in 2009.
The party will announce its stance on Friday, according to Selamat Nurdin, the head of the party’s Jakarta chapter.
Previously, a number of parties forged coalition with Fauzi’s camp ahead of the runoff.
Following the first-round defeat of their respective candidates, the United Development Party (PPP) and Golkar — each with seven seats in the council — and the National Mandate Party (PAN) with four seats joined the Democratic Party and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) to support Fauzi in his re-election bid.
The Democratic Party, whose chief patron is President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is the largest party in the council with 32 seats, while Hanura controls four seats.
Should PKS decide to side with Fauzi, it would complete the list of parties in Yudhoyono’s coalition government lending their support to Fauzi in the runoff. Hanura is the only party outside the coalition to also lend its support.
Jokowi has been endorsed by a coalition of two major opposition parties: the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which controls 11 council seats, and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) with six seats.
Observing the latest political developments, PDI-P patron Taufik Kiemas said that it was high time for Jokowi to make his own move in seeking support for the runoff. “It is now time for Jokowi to visit mass organizations,” Taufik said.
Among the organizations Taufik mentioned were Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, the largest and second-largest Muslim organizations in the country, respectively.
Taufik said political parties were still an important factor in the capital. “We need to be careful not to be cornered in the runoff,” he said.
Separately, Hamdi Muluk, a political analyst at the University of Indonesia, said that political parties’ support wouldn’t matter much in the election’s second round.
“Jakarta voters have loose bonds with political parties. Only two parties here have strong bonds with their supporters — PKS and PDI-P,” Hamdi said.
He said Jakarta voters tend to base their voting choices on figures instead of political parties. “Parties’ support does not necessarily correlate with more votes,” Hamdi added.
In the July 11 election, Jokowi won a plurality after receiving 1,847,157 votes or 42.6 percent of the vote. Fauzi Bowo finished in second place with 1,476,648 votes or 34.05 percent of the vote.
Unlike other regions, the capital city requires candidates to secure more than 50 percent of the vote to win the election.
The Jakarta General Election Commission (KPU Jakarta) plans to ask the Jakarta administration and city council for an additional Rp 21 billion (US$2.22 million) to supplement the Rp 55 billion it retained from its original budget for a potential runoff. The election body set aside a total of Rp 254 billion for the 2012 gubernatorial election.
Sumarno, a KPU Jakarta commissioner, said that the additional funds were needed to hold promotional events and distribute publications for the runoff.