Election Watch

Jokowi sued for presidential
bid

Dear God: Supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) hold a mass prayer shortly before the kickoff of an outdoor rally in Denpasar on Wednesday. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)
Dear God: Supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) hold a mass prayer shortly before the kickoff of an outdoor rally in Denpasar on Wednesday. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

A group of advocates has filed a lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court against Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for leaving his post to contest the upcoming presidential election.

The lawyers, who supported Jokowi and his deputy, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, during the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election, are demanding that Jokowi give up his presidential nomination and fulfill his promise to complete his five-year term in the capital.

“We have filed the lawsuit not merely because Jokowi has officially been nominated a presidential candidate by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) but also because, if he becomes president, he will be abandoning his duty as governor and reneging on the promise he made when running for governor,” Ade Dwi Kurnia, one the of the lawyers, told the press at the Central Jakarta District Court on Wednesday.

Ade said his group, calling itself Jakarta Baru (New Jakarta), a catchphrase of Jokowi’s campaign during the Jakarta election, applauded the former Surakarta mayor’s performance during his two years of leadership; however, he mentioned several issues, including the traffic congestion and floods, which Jokowi still needed to resolve.

“He will only have completed half of his five year term [as governor]. We want him to focus on his responsibilities in that post,” Ade emphasized.

Debates on whether it is ethical for Jokowi to run for the presidency have been circulating in many social media outlets.

The discussions became even more intense after PDI-P chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri officially gave her blessing and chose Jokowi to represent the party in the election, which is slated for July.

Despite the criticism on social media sites regarding Jokowi’s intention to step down as governor if he wins the election, a recent survey by the Jakarta-based pollster, Indikator Politik Indonesia, revealed that a majority of Indonesians — both within and outside Jakarta — approved of his leadership style and supported his presidential bid.

The survey, which was conducted in January and February this year, found that 76 percent of the 2,500 respondents contacted across the archipelago supported Jokowi’s nomination, including 40 percent who strongly supported it.

Meanwhile, approval also came from 69 percent of 400 respondents in Jakarta, 33 percent of whom said they strongly supported Jokowi’s bid to run for president.

Jokowi was reluctant to comment when asked about the lawsuit as well as criticism of his presidential nomination.

“It’s OK in a democracy. Pros and cons are normal things in a democratic country,” he said.

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