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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Will the real presidential contenders please stand up

  • Rendi A. Witular
    Rendi A. Witular

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, October 24, 2017   /  08:05 am
Commentary: Will the real presidential contenders please stand up President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (second left), accompanied by Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi (left) and West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan (right) responds to journalists' queries after performing the Idul Adha prayer in Sukabumi, West Java, on Friday. (The Jakarta Post/Anton Hermansyah)

In mid-2011, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who was then in his second term as mayor of Surakarta in Central Java, embarked on a deliberately crafted campaign for nationwide fame. He capitalized on his success in turning his previously filthy city into one of the country’s most desirable places to live. 

While at that time Jokowi repeatedly refuted suggestions that he was eyeing the 2014 presidential race, it would have been naive not to believe otherwise. His orchestrated activities were all meant for bigger things as he churned out PR stunts aimed at getting as much media coverage as possible, with the result that hardly a day passed without Jokowi being in the news. 

It took the former furniture businessman around three years of extremely intensive publicity to climb up the ladder to clinch the Jakarta gubernatorial job before going on ...