The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has announced that he will run as an independent candidate in next year's gubernatorial election after he failed to get a response from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on whether the ruling party would back his candidacy.
Without the support of the PDI-P, Ahok will not pair up with current deputy and PDI-P member Djarot Saiful Hidayat in the race. Instead, his running mate will be Jakarta Financial and Asset Management Board (BPKAD) head Heru Budi Hartono.
"Yesterday,Teman Ahok [Friends of Ahok volunteer group] came to my house. They said they couldn't wait any longer to be informed of the name of the deputy governor candidate because the name is needed in the collection of ID-backed signatures," Ahok told journalists at City Hall on Monday.
Teman Ahok previously announced that its volunteers had collected nearly 700,000 ID-backed signatures in support of Ahok's candidacy, more than enough as required by the law for independent candidates to run as in next year's election.
"Taking into account their spirit, I let them use Heru's name [as the gubernatorial deputy candidate]," Ahok added.
Ahok had initially told his supporters to pick Djarot as his deputy candidate, but the group advised him to pick another name because Djarot needed permission from the PDI-P.
Last week, Ahok gave the PDI-P a week to decide whether the party would allow Djarot to run on his ticket. But the party could not give an immediate answer, arguing that candidate recruitment was still taking place.
With his decision to run as an independent candidate, the PDI-P is likely to pick its own candidate.
The governor said that he knew the risks of his decision to run as an independent candidate and expressed his hope that Teman Ahok would be able to collect 1 million ID-backed signatures in support of the Ahok-Heru ticket by June.
"I don't want to disappoint the young people. I told them I will be an independent but they have to know that this is my sacrifice," Ahok added, saying that his position is in danger for choosing the independent track.
Separately, Teman Ahok spokeswoman Amalia Ayuningtyas said the group would include Heru's name in the collection of ID-backed signatures.
'The most important thing is that Ahok is ready to be independent candidate with Heru as his running mate,' Amalia said, adding that when the group visited Ahok's house on Monday, Heru was there and expressed his readiness to be paired with Ahok. (bbn)(+)
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