The Jakarta Post
The protracted dispute between the Gerindra Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) over who deserves the Jakarta deputy governor’s job left by Sandiaga Uno is finally over after a meeting between the two parties’ leaders on Monday concluded that the Islam-based party would take the seat.
Gerindra’s Jakarta chairman, Muhammad Taufik, said it had agreed to hand over the post to the PKS. Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto reportedly promised the PKS the coveted seat in exchange for their support for Sandiaga’s vice-presidential bid.
The two parties are to interview deputy governor candidates that the PKS had proposed, whom PKS Jakarta chairman Syakir Purnomo identified as Agung Yulianto and Ahmad Syaikhu.
For almost three months, the dispute had been a concern for people in the capital. Jakartans voted for Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga in a bitterly divisive race last year with the hope that the two would transform the city into a better place to live. Then Sandiaga changed the course of his own political journey and the metropolis’ quest for more humane policies as he now aspires to a higher office. As a result, ever since Sandiaga was declared the running mate of presidential candidate Prabowo in early August, Anies has had no partner to share the burden of managing the city of 10 million people.
Leading a big city like Jakarta must be a dream of many, if not all, political bigwigs in the country, but its dynamics and urban problems are too difficult to deal with singlehandedly. After nearly three months of running solo, we hope Anies can now govern in an effective way. Especially now, when the Jakarta administration and the City Council are deliberating over the city’s draft budget for 2019, the role of a deputy governor is instrumental.
From a political point of view, the city budget constitutes the realization of the campaign promises of the elected governor and deputy governor. Too much is at stake in the draft budget debate and Anies needs a trusted second who can ensure his campaign platform is implemented in programs that benefit all.
A power play within the coalition that nominated Anies and Sandiaga could have stood between the governor and his campaign promises had top Gerindra and PKS members failed to reach a deal over the deputy governor post, which should matter more to Jakartans than to themselves.
In the eyes of the public the dispute showed a crack in the coalition. Had they trusted and respected each other they would have decisively resolved the issue as soon as Sandiaga resigned as deputy governor. The Regional Elections Law leaves such matters to members of the winning party or coalition of parties.
In selecting the deputy governor, however, both Gerindra and the PKS need to take Anies’ views into account. As the governor, his opinion counts because he has to form a well-knit partnership with his future deputy.