The Jakarta Post
Surabaya Mayor Tri 'Risma' Rismaharini will probably find her reelection bid uncontested, as political parties in the country's second largest city have expressed reluctance to immediately nominate candidates to compete against the popular mayor.
Risma, who was first elected mayor in 2010, has recently received an endorsement from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to run again in the upcoming mayoral election, which will be held concurrently with other 268 local elections on Dec. 9.
Gerindra Party politician AH Tony, who leads the party's selection committee for the mayoral position, admitted that it was difficult for alternative figures to challenge Risma's popularity, urging political parties to form a coalition to challenge her nomination.
'If six political parties ' Gerindra, the Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the Democratic Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB) ' manage to propose a figure who has equal capability as Risma, it is not impossible that the parties' will be able to reverse the situation,' Tony told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Tony, however, said Gerindra and other political parties were also looking for other strategies should they fail to come up with an equal match for Risma, including by collectively refusing to nominate candidates to stall Risma's candidacy.
The PDI-P, the country's largest political party, controls 15 out of 50 seats in the Surabaya Legislative Council (DPRD), followed by the Democratic Party with six seats.
Trailing behind them are the PKB, Gerindra and the PKS that control five seats each and Golkar and PAN that have four seats each. Hanura Party, NasDem Party and the United Development Party (PPP), meanwhile, control three, two and one seat(s), respectively.
The head of the PKB faction in the DPRD, Mufidah, said the party's local chapter would endorse the candidate supported by the party's central board. 'We are still waiting for the recommendation from the PKB central board,' Mufidah said.
Risma made her name after her success in transforming Surabaya, a once neglected city, into a city with many first-class public parks.
PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto has recently confirmed that the party will nominate Risma, along with her deputy Wisnu Sakti Buana as running mate, for the upcoming the mayoral election.
According to the 2015 Local Elections Law, a local election must contest at least two pairs of candidates. The Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD) must delay an election should only a single pair of candidates run in the election.
University of Airlangga political analyst Ucu Martono said that political parties' reluctance to propose rival candidates was predictable.
'They need a lot of money to run their political vehicles. They would think twice about nominating candidates if they knew that they would eventually lose,' he said.
The Surabaya KPUD has registered 2.1 million voters for the city's upcoming mayoral election, making it the biggest local election at the municipal and regental levels. The KPUD had also given chances for independent candidates to participate in the election but no one showed up when it closed the registration period last week.
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