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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Ahok ready to run for vice president

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, March 5, 2014 | 08:32 am
Ahok ready to run for vice president Basuki Tjahaja Purnama: (JP/Jerry Adiguna) (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama: (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Deputy Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama, a Gerindra Party member, revealed on Tuesday that he had been touted as a potential vice presidential candidate for this year'€™s presidential election.

'€œDuring informal luncheons, my colleagues in Gerindra have said that I may be a potential running mate for [Gerindra chief patron] Pak Prabowo [Subianto],'€ Ahok said at City Hall, adding that '€œhowever, there was no formal decision yet'€.

He acknowledged that Gerindra should focus on grabbing as many votes as possible during the legislative election, slated to be held on April 9.

'€œWithout gaining more than 20 percent of the seats at the House of Representatives, how can Gerindra nominate its own presidential candidate?'€ he said.

Despite no formal arrangement from Gerindra, Ahok hinted that he would not refuse the offer.

'€œIf I am asked by my party to run [for vice president], I'€™ll certainly accept the request. Whether it is to run for governor or president, I'€™m prepared to serve my party,'€ he cited.

When asked whom he would choose if both Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and Prabowo ask him to be their running mate, he declined to answer and instead responded with a joke.

'€œI'€™ll just ask to stay at City Hall and be DKI 1 so my picture will be displayed at the office,'€ he said.

DKI 1 is a colloquial term that means Jakarta Governor.

'€œPak Jokowi'€™s nomination is in the hands of Bu Mega. Pak Prabowo'€™s nomination also depends on the number of votes Gerindra can garner,'€ Ahok added, referring to Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who has been given the mandate to select PDI-P'€™s presidential candidate.

Jokowi has been touted as a strong contender during the presidential election this year, closely followed by Prabowo.

If Jokowi is eventually nominated, Prabowo would be the only contender who could pose a threat to the Jakarta governor in the presidential race.

Several pollsters conducted surveys that showed the PDI-P'€™s electoral power would be boosted by 5 to 10 percent if Jokowi was named their presidential candidate before the legislative election.

This means that many people who are not PDI-P supporters may well vote for the party in April if it announces Jokowi'€™s nomination beforehand.