Bureaucrats and politicians eyeing the Tangerang mayoral post have begun registering and charming voters, even though the local Election Commission (KPUD) has yet to decide on the exact date of the election that is due to take place in August.
Among those who have started introductory campaigns by placing posters and banners plastered with their images on public spaces included incumbent Deputy Mayor Arief R. Wismansyah, the municipality’s secretary Harry Mulya Zein, water operator PDAM Tirta Raharja president director Achmad Marju Kodri and Abdul Syukur, a Banten councilor who is the younger sibling of Mayor Wahidin Halim.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was among the first political parties to initiate open registration for hopefuls.
“Just four days after the registration period opened, eight hopefuls have taken registration forms,” Hendri Zein, PDI-P Tangerang chairman said on Saturday.
Those who were seeking support from PDI-P included Harry Mulya Zein, comedian-turned-politician Tubagus Dedi “Mi’ing” Gumelar and regional representative council member Marinus Gea.
“Registration for mayor hopefuls is open to the public but we are looking for a figure that is really close to the people,” Hendri said, adding that it was believed that the number of hopefuls would increase.
Commenting on the right figure to replace outgoing mayor Wahidin Halim, Memet Chumaidi, a local political observer from Tangerang Muhammadiyah University said that all hopefuls had equal opportunity to run for the 2013-2018 mayoral post.
“There are strength and weaknesses in each candidate. I think it’s best to pair-up the hopefuls so that they can complement each other and win the hearts of voters,” he said.
Wahidin, who will end his final term on Nov. 16, said that each candidate should measure their capabilities before participating in the election to not waste energy and money.
“They should ask themselves whether or not their goal is feasible. Running for the top post requires a lot. They have to be aware of this before they decide to run in the election.”
He refused to reveal who, among the hopefuls, had come to him for support and advice. “They should ask for support and blessings from God, not me,” he said.
Mi’ing said his candidacy for Tangerang mayor was fully backed by his party, PDI-P.
“I hope my candidacy is accepted. I’m optimistic that there will be no more internal fractions because the local PDI-P caretakers and I have been seeing eye-to-eye on this,” he said.
KPUD commissioner Syafril Elain said that the commission had yet to decide on the exact date of the election, but he confirmed that 1,280,715 eligible voters would vote for the new mayor in August.
“As of today, we are still waiting for input from political parties, community figures, NGOs and professionals to determine the election date,” he said.