The Jakarta Post
After two failed attempts, leaders of the Democratic Party and the National Mandate Party (PAN) visited the Surabaya General Elections Commission's (KPUD) headquarters on Tuesday to directly register their joint candidate pair for the upcoming Surabaya mayoral election. They also reiterated that their parties had no reluctance to challenge the reelection bid of popular incumbent Mayor Tri 'Risma' Rismaharini.
'This [candidate] registration is serious. I myself submitted the recommendation [letter] from my party to the KPUD. You can see, the recommendation is not fake,' PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan told The Jakarta Post.
During Tuesday's visit, Zulkifli, who also serves as People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker, was accompanied by a number of politicians, including PAN secretary-general Eddy Soeparno, Dems secretary-general Hinca Pandjaitan and Dems advisory council member Pramono Edhie Wibowo.
The politicians gathered to support the registration of mayoral candidate Rasiyo and his running mate Lucy Kurniawati.
'We are optimistic that our candidates can beat Risma in the upcoming election. Rasiyo with his bureaucratic experience and Lucy with her grassroots support will attract voters,' Hinca said.
Prior to his retirement as a civil servant, Rasiyo served as East Java Education Agency head and provincial administration secretary. Lucy, a Surabaya beauty queen in the 1980s, served as a Dems lawmaker in the 2009 to 2014 period.
Tuesday's registration was the second attempt for Rasiyo after the KPUD rejected his registration last month when he paired with former journalist Dhimam Abror Djuraid due to administrative errors. The pair was endorsed by the Dems and PAN, which together represent 10 out of 50 seats at the Surabaya Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).
This year, Indonesia is planning to carry out 269 regional head elections simultanoeusly on Dec. 9. With 2.1 million registered voters, the Surabaya mayoral election will be the largest election at the municipal and regency levels this year.
Risma, who was first elected Surabaya mayor in 2010, is still the frontrunner for the upcoming mayoral election following her success in transforming the East Java provincial capital from a neglected industrial city into a city with many first-class public parks. Her popularity has allegedly been the reason political parties have been reluctant to field candidates to challenge her reelection bid, which has been endorsed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Earlier in August, the Dems and PAN also failed to jointly register candidate pair Dhimam and Haries Purwoko after Haries got cold feet and withdrew his deputy mayoral candidacy at the last minute.
Both Rasiyo and Lucy have also expressed their confidence about challenging Risma and her running mate Wisnu Sakti Buana.
'I'm optimistic I will attract a large number of women voters by offering various programs to develop Surabaya and its suburbs. I'm just bonek,' Lucy said.
Bonek, a local term meaning being fearless, is also the slogan of the famous Persebaya Surabaya soccer team.