The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama has said he may join the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), even though his supporters grouped under Friends of Ahok (Teman Ahok) have collected the required number of photocopied identity cards for him to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming election.
'Maybe we can join the PDI-P, but it depends on the PDI-P,' Ahok said in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by kompas.com. The PDI-P plans to announce its candidate for the Jakarta gubernatorial election in April.
It is a new political stance for Ahok because he previously told activists from Friends of Ahok that he would run as an independent candidate in May if his supporters managed to collect one million photocopies of Jakartans' ID cards.
Ahok said he had communicated with executives of the party, chaired by Megawati Soekarnoputri, about the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017. 'Of course, I have talked [about the election] with them,' he said.
Since leaving the Gerindra Party, Ahok is known to have been close to the PDI-P. He met several times with Megawati and was warmly welcomed by party executives when he attended the party's national gathering (Rakernas) last month.
PDI-P election campaign body member Arteria Dahlan said on Tuesday that his party preferred Ahok to potential gubernatorial candidate Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, who is currently the strongest contender, according to a number of surveys.
'Ahok has opened himself [to possible candidacy] and has communicated with the PDI-P. It is part of our [positive] assessment," Arteria said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Friends of Ahok spokeswoman Amalia Ayuningtyas expressed hope that Ahok would run as an independent candidate as planned because the group's volunteers had managed to collect more than 600,000 copies of IDs, more than the number required by law to run as an independent candidate.
The wish of many political parties to support Ahok as a gubernatorial candidate is an indication of the governor's popularity, also shown by residents' willingness to provide photocopies of their IDs to the group, Amalia said.
'We, Friends of Ahok, insist that Pak Ahok should run as an independent candidate. We welcome political parties giving their support,' she said, adding that independent candidates would be declared in May. (bbn)(+)
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