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Jakarta Post

Jokowi vows he 'won't be campaigning' for son, son-in-law in upcoming mayoral races

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 18, 2020   /   01:30 pm
Jokowi vows he 'won't be campaigning' for son, son-in-law in upcoming mayoral races President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (left) and First Lady Iriana (center) stroll around the Bogor Presidential Palace gardens accompanied by son Gibran Rakabuming Raka and his wife Selvi Ananda, their son Jan Ethes, as well as their daughter Kahiyang Ayu and her husband Bobby Afif Nasution and their daughter Sedah Mirah on Dec. 8, 2018. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

With his eldest son and son-in-law running in mayoral races this year, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ensured the public that he will not be campaigning for them, citing his workload.

Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Jokowi's eldest son, has officially registered to run in the 2020 Surakarta mayoral election in Central Java, while his son-in-law Bobby Nasution will be running in the Medan mayoral election in North Sumatra this year.

"This is a competition. In every competition they can win or lose. I won't be campaigning [for them]," Jokowi told reporters at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Friday, citing that he had a lot of work to do.

He reasserted his stance and dismissed speculation suggesting that he was trying to establish a political dynasty under his name, saying that it would come down to the people whether his family members were elected or not.

"Again, there is no such [political dynasty]. This is about the choice of the people; if the people don't want them then they won't be elected," he said.

"First, it's even difficult [for them] to look for political parties [to back their candidacies]. Second, people these days are smart. The presidential and regional elections have allowed them to learn a lot about politics; which ones are good to be elected and which ones are not. It's different from ministerial positions."

Gibran, who has been running his own businesses, previously approached Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri before eventually registering with the party’s Central Java chapter in Semarang in an attempt to get a ticket for the mayoral race. The PDI-P central board will later decide which candidate it will nominate.

Bobby, a property investor, has submitted his Medan mayoral candidate nomination forms also to the PDI-P's North Sumatra branch, which is currently processing his application. 

The husband of Jokowi's daughter Kahiyang Ayu has also met with a number of political parties in North Sumatra, including the Golkar Party and the NasDem Party. Last month, he met with Jokowi's erstwhile rival in the 2019 election, Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, to talk about Bobby’s plan to run in the 2020 Medan mayoral race, although Prabowo had yet to issue any recommendation to support his candidacy.

Jokowi said that even though there were difficulties in finding parties to back them, he would not interfere with the matter. He said that if his son had not earned a party's support, then they would not proceed to run in the race.

"Being an independent candidate is fine, but in the long run everything will need approval from the Regional Legislative Councils, which consist of political party factions," he said. (ars)