Almost all public opinion polls in recent months found that if an election was to take place today, the wildly popular Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would certainly win.
Political parties have warmed to the idea of nominating him for the top job in 2014, with the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party, have said that they will support the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) if the party nominates Jokowi in its presidential tickets.
PDI-P chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri is reported to have prefer to have younger politicians on the 2014 presidential election stage, which many see as an endorsement of Jokowi.
But many in Jakarta just want Jokowi to clean up the mess in the city and stay on until his term expires in 2016, and think that maybe his chance is not as great as many have predicted.
Web designer, Anggoro Gunawan, doubts if Jokowi would be elected if ran for president in 2014.
“Most people in Jakarta come from Javanese and Chinese backgrounds. I’m not sure he could get many voters from people of different origins or that he would be popular outside Java,” Anggoro said.
He said that Jokowi could benefit from a broader political coalition.
“Indonesia is a very complex country and he would need more and broader political support,” he said.
Anggoro learned that some of his friends had voted for Jokowi and his running mate Basuki Tjahja “Ahok” Purnama in the 2012 gubernatorial election simply because they came from the same ethnic groups.
Eko Sulistiyo, who teaches Javanese art at a state university, said that Jokowi should focus on Jakarta first.
He hopes that Jokowi uses his leadership to transform Jakarta into one of the best capital cities in the world before setting his sights on the presidency.
“For me, to develop Indonesia doesn’t always mean that one should become a president. Being a governor is a way to make a better Indonesia,” he said.
Fellow Jakartan Rosdiana Hangka said that she was quite reluctant to see her favorite governor become the country’s president in 2014.
“Jokowi strongly supports the arts and cultural programs. He is aware that a nation’s identity starts with culture,” she said, adding that the recent Ariah musical at the Jakarta Fair as an example of Jokowi’s great support for the arts.
“I really hope that he focuses in his job as governor first even though it is unlikely there will be any other potential 2014 candidate of his caliber,” she said.
Meanwhile, a digital strategist of a multinational advertising company, Piotr Jabuwoski said that Jokowi had some similarities with United States President Barack Obama, with his progressive views, as well as charismatic and lovable persona.
“I am not surprised that his name is being tossed around in connection with the upcoming presidential election. I am sure that Indonesian’s young adults would choose him just like the American young people did with Obama,” he said.
Multimedia developer, Robin Corba, heard nothing but good about Jokowi whenever he discussed politics with his fellow Indonesians, but worries that it might be too early for Jokowi to think about the presidency.
“Jokowi is certainly making a good impression on the public,” he said, added that.
“I think it will take more time to actually see what changes he can bring to Jakarta.” (tam)
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