The Jakarta Post
Banyuwangi Regent and East Java deputy gubernatorial candidate Abdullah Azwar Anas has told running mate Saifullah “Gus Ipul” Yusuf that he wants to pull out of the election.
Gus Ipul confirmed on Thursday that Azwar had contacted him.
“I was surprised. I also received the information about Azwar Anas’ plan to withdraw from the supporting parties,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
The news came after a number of leaked photos allegedly showing Azwar in a compromising position had gone viral on social media. One of the photos allegedly shows Azwar sitting in a car while holding a woman's leg. A bottle of wine is seen next to him.
The photos, if confirmed, could undermine Azwar's electability in East Java, one of the most conservative provinces in the country and home to the largest population of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) followers. .
Azwar has stated in a press release that he has received several threats in the lead up to the East Java gubernatorial election registration on Jan. 7.
“There have been threats against me and my family, and there have also been attempts to assassinate my character as a deputy gubernatorial candidate for East Java,” he said.
He added that he had been receiving such treatment since his second term as Banyuwangi regent.
“I have been sent pictures in the past to stop me from enacting certain policies. But I didn’t let those stop me from doing what was best for the public,” he said.
Secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Hasto Kristiyanto also said there had been an attempt to tarnish Azwar’s image ahead of the elections.
“Because they have the potential to win, of course there will be deliberate and systematic attempts to lower their electability,” he said. “They will often use moral issues to do this.” (kmt/ahw)