The Jakarta Post
West Java gubernatorial candidate Sudrajat made a controversial remark related to next year's presidential election during the third round of public debates for the province's governor and deputy governor election on Monday evening.
"If we win, we will change the Indonesian president in 2019," Sudrajat said in his closing statement, as quoted by Antara on Monday.
After addressing the remarks, his deputy candidate Ahmad Syaikhu immediately showed a T-shirt emblazoned with a message that read "Gubernur 2018 Asyik, 2019 Ganti Presiden" (Asyik for 2018 Governor, 2019 Change President). Asyik is the nickname for the candidate pair.
The closing statement sparked strong reactions from supporters from other candidate pairs, hindering other candidate pair Deddy Mizwar and Dedi Mulyadi, who were backed by Golkar and the Democratic Party, from sending their closing statement.
The incident prompted the debate committee to quickly move to calm down supporters of each candidate pair.
Sudrajat and Ahmad are backed by three parties in the upcoming election, namely the opposing Gerindra Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), as well as the National Mandate Party (PAN). The Peaceful and Benign Islam Party (Idaman) led by dangdut singer Rhoma Irama later declared its support for the pair.
Sudrajat's controversial remarks were based on the political hashtag recently made famous by PKS politician Mardani Ali Sera, which some considered to be intended to rev up President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his archrival Prabowo Subianto, the Gerindra patron, during the 2019 presidential election.
The hashtag became the politician's expression of support for Prabowo, even though the PKS had not yet officially announced its endorsement for any presidential candidate. (kuk/ebf)