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Jakarta Post

Prabowo more flamboyant, Jokowi low-key

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 20, 2014   /  09:45 am

Hundreds of people in white shirts filled the front lawn and lobby of the historic Polonia House in East Jakarta, the one-time residence of the country'€™s first president, Sukarno, as they chanted the names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates they were waiting for.

Some in the crowd became increasingly enthusiastic as patriotic songs blared from a nearby sound system, while dancers performed the traditional East Javanese reog dance, drawing attention from some bystanders.

With red and white banners draped across the while colonial-era pillars of the multilevel terrace, the atmosphere was unashamedly patriotic.

Amid the hustle and bustle was a mix of supporters from the political parties making up the Gerindra Party coalition: the green-clad United Development Party (PPP) supporters, the yellow-streaked jackets of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the bold blue of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

Then suddenly, the arrival of a group of politicians onstage, dressed in familiar yellow jackets alongside politicians from the other coalition members, triggered a round of applause.

The Golkar Party '€” along with the Crescent Star Party (PBB) '€” had finally played their joker card by joining the Gerindra coalition at the 11th hour.

Golkar secretary-general Idrus Marham, as opposed to party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, announced his party'€™s support at the event.

'€œI would like to stress that Aburizal Bakrie met with [Gerindra chief patron] Prabowo [Subianto] for the umpteenth time, and not at the very last minute,'€ Idrus said to entertain the crowd.

Idrus added that Aburizal preferred the Gerindra camp, as he believed Prabowo had what it took to lead the country.

'€œAburizal said popularity alone would not resolve the nation'€™s problems. We require a qualified leader,'€ Idrus said in what was a thinly veiled attack on Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential candidate Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo.

He also said the entire Golkar family gave its full support to the Prabowo-Hatta Rajasa pairing.

On Sunday night, Golkar'€™s negotiations with the PDI-P fell through, ending speculation that the two parties would join forces for the July 9 election.

The following afternoon, Jokowi declared former vice president Jusuf Kalla as his running mate at the historic Gedung Joang 45 in Central Jakarta.

The announcement took place in a more modest setting. Jokowi and Kalla donned similar long-sleeved white shirts.

Shortly after announcing their bid, Jokowi and Kalla rode bicycles to the General Elections Commission (KPU) to register their candidacy.

'€œWe'€™ve submitted all the administrative papers today, Monday, May 19,'€ Jokowi said after handing in all the documentation to the commission.

Jokowi and Kalla reportedly asked the KPU to postpone their health checkups until Thursday.

It is believed that the pair, which is supported by the PDI-P and its coalition partners '€” the NasDem Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Hanura Party '€” asked the KPU for the delay so as make time for more pressing matters.

The pair was initially scheduled to have their medical checkups at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.

'€œWe thank the commission for providing us with good service. We'€™ll have the examinations on Thursday,'€ Jokowi said. (tjs)

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