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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Jokowi shrugs off attempts to support presidential bid

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, July 9, 2013 | 09:43 am

Popular Jakarta Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo said that he had nothing to do with the formation of a volunteer group that will help him work on ground operations for his 2014 presidential bid.

'€œIt'€™s a political party matter,'€ Jokowi said, when asked about the formation of the Central Java-based volunteer organization Barisan Relawan Jokowi Presiden (Bara JP) on Sunday.

Jokowi also once again rehashed his argument for not running in the 2014 presidential election.

'€œI'€™ve never thought about it [presidential nomination] because taking care of Jakarta'€™s problems, from traffic to floods, has consumed my attention and energy,'€ Jokowi said on the sidelines of a ceremony inaugurating Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Sidarto Danusubroto as the new speaker of the People'€™s Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Monday.

The former mayor of Surakarta further emphasized that he also had no intention to participate in the primary arranged by other political parties because he is an official member of the PDI-P.

Jokowi was referring to the primary of the ruling Democratic Party.

Almost all public opinion polls in recent months revealed that he would certainly win the presidency if an election were to take place today, beating other senior politicians even including PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri and dark-horse candidate Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto, the chief patron of the Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party.

An opinion poll by Jakarta-based think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last May, for example, found that if an election was to take place today, Jokowi would get 28.6 percent of the vote, ahead of Prabowo with 15.6 percent, who was the most popular candidate in an earlier survey conducted in August 2012.

Other public opinion polls had also come out with similar results.

Responding to Jokowi'€™s rising popularity, leader of the PDI-P faction at the House of Representatives, Puan Maharani, who is also the daughter of Megawati, said that PDI-P would definitely discuss it during the party'€™s upcoming national meeting (Rakornas) soon after the Idul Fitri holiday.

'€œNevertheless, we'€™ve agreed that the final decision will be in the hands of Ibu Mega as our chairwoman,'€ Puan said.

Puan, a member of the House Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, had previously hinted that Megawati would not run for president for a third time and instead would endorse younger politicians, a move deemed to pave the way for Jokowi to contest the 2014 presidential election.

Other parties including the leading Democratic Party that will hold primaries in September seem to have shown interest in nominating Jokowi as their potential presidential candidate as the governor reportedly had a real chance winning.

Puan said that Jokowi could join the tickets of other political parties but only with permission from Megawati as chairperson of the PDI-P.