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Jakarta Post

Flourishing political volunteer groups good for democracy: Analysts

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 8, 2016   /  12:57 pm
Flourishing political volunteer groups good for democracy: Analysts A person sorts through T-shirts sold by Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok) at Rp 100,000 (US$7.6) to Rp 150,000 each at the Teman Ahok headquarters in Graha Pejaten, South Jakarta, on June 21. Teman Ahok is a group of volunteers garnering support for Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in his bid for reelection in 2017. (Antara/Reno Esnir)

The increasing number of grassroot political volunteer groups leading up to the Jakarta gubernatorial election next year should urge political parties to accommodate public aspirations in determining the ideal figure to lead the capital, executive director of Charta Politika Indonesia Yunarto Wijaya said.

“If political parties and volunteers work together, they  could surely create a great power,” Yunarto told on Monday.

Volunteer groups have been growing in number to support individual figures seeking candidacy in the election, starting with the establishment of Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok) in 2015, which supports Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. 

There are Risma’s Warriors (Laris), Risma’s Troops (Paris), Tanah Merah with Risma (Tameris) and Jakarta Love Risma (Jaklovers), which support Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini and Sahabat Sandiaga Uno, a group that supports Gerindra Party candidate Sandiaga Uno. Meanwhile, Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI) chairman has declared support to former coordinating maritime affairs minister Rizal Ramli for the gubernatorial election.

Siti Zuhro, an analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that the volunteer movement was positive, as long as their supported figures were strong candidates and so long as the movement was not a political commodity that may lead to conflict. 

“Bottom-up democracy can reach equilibrium when political parties consider and accommodate public aspirations. The trust-building will be formed with such cooperation so the parties do not arbitrarily nominate their candidates,” Siti said. (dan)


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