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Jakarta Post

Gloves come off as campaign heats up

  • Margareth S. Aritonang and Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Bandung   /   Thu, June 5, 2014   /  08:17 am
Gloves come off as campaign heats up Smear campaign: Election Supervision Committee (Bawaslu) commissioner Nelson Simanjuntak (right) shows a copy of controversial tabloid Obor Rakyat, which has allegedly violated presidential election campaign rules, to journalists at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday. So far, Bawaslu has received six complaints about election law violations. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma) (Bawaslu) commissioner Nelson Simanjuntak (right) shows a copy of controversial tabloid Obor Rakyat, which has allegedly violated presidential election campaign rules, to journalists at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday. So far, Bawaslu has received six complaints about election law violations. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

Smear campaign: Election Supervision Committee (Bawaslu) commissioner Nelson Simanjuntak (right) shows a copy of controversial tabloid Obor Rakyat, which has allegedly violated presidential election campaign rules, to journalists at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday. So far, Bawaslu has received six complaints about election law violations. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

Personal attacks and a growing division between moderate and hardline Muslims marred the first day of the presidential campaign on Wednesday.

A group called Flambora reported former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono to the National Police for describing Gerindra Party presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto as '€œmentally disturbed'€.

'€œDescribing Prabowo as a psychopath or mentally disturbed is slander. We demand proof,'€ said Flambora leader Alfons Loemau, whose group claimed to represent ethnic groups from Flores, Sumba, Timor and Alor in East Nusa Tenggara.

In a discussion on Tuesday, Hendropriyono claimed that, as Prabowo'€™s former commanding officer in the Army, he had seen sufficient evidence suggesting Prabowo had a mental illness.

According to Hendropriyono, who is on Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential contender Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo'€™s campaign team, Prabowo scored the lowest on a psychological test when applying for a promotion in the Army.

'€œAs his commander, I had access to his test results, which technically put him in the G4 level, meaning that he was insane and on the verge of schizophrenia,'€ he claimed.

Hendropriyono alleged that an Army officer described in such a way was obviously temperamental and had a short fuse. '€œHe is no longer an emotional person but a psychopath.'€

Prabowo'€™s temperament recently made headlines following footage on YouTube recorded when he registered his candidacy at the General Elections Commission (KPU) in Jakarta last month. The footage shows Prabowo allegedly punching a man.

Prabowo, who will focus his campaign in Java this week, embarked on his first tour in West Java'€™s capital Bandung, meeting supporters of his coalition. He was accompanied by Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.

West Java is the most populous province and home to around 18 percent of eligible voters.


Prabowo'€™s running mate Hatta Rajasa, who is also chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN) was in Jakarta meeting supporters before heading for Banten on Thursday.

While Hatta made no statement on Wednesday, PAN deputy chairman Dradjad Wibowo mocked Jokowi for being a poor orator, as evidenced on Tuesday when he failed to impress the audience during his joint declaration for a peaceful campaign remarks. '€œNo great leader in this world has had poor public speaking skills.'€

Meanwhile, Jokowi joined PDI-P elites and officials from the coalition in a low-key celebration and prayer at PDI-P headquarters in South Jakarta.

After the celebration, Jokowi made all PDI-P regional leaders agree to a written rule, which demanded that they avoid smear campaigns.

'€œPak Jokowi has instructed party members, as well as supporters to uphold peace without black campaigning,'€ said PDI-P deputy secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto.

Jokowi'€™s running mate Jusuf Kalla met leaders and members of the country'€™s largest Islamic organization the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in Jakarta.

During the discussion, Kalla requested the audience help address the slur campaigns against Jokowi, particularly over his religion and racial identity. '€œHe [Jokowi] is a devout Javanese Muslim,'€ said Kalla

NU senior figure Alwi Shihab told the audience that it would be dangerous for Muslims if Jokowi failed to clinch the presidency.

'€œJokowi'€™s defeat will change the Muslim landscape here and the Wahhabis will rule the system,'€ he said. The NU is known for its moderate line of Islam.

Wahhabism Islam is the primary movement behind extreme Islam.

Hardline groups, such as the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), have voiced support of Prabowo. More than 2,000 FPI and Wahhabi group members took part in a convoy in Magelang, Central Java, on Wednesday, as a show of force and
support.

Meanwhile, a survey held by the Populi Center between May 24 and 29 in 33 provinces, showed the popularity of Prabowo, the choice of 36.9 percent of respondants, to be gaining on Jokowi, with 47.5 percent.

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