The Jakarta Post
Akhyar Nasution, the acting mayor of Medan in North Sumatra, has switched parties from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to the Democratic Party in a bid to secure his candidacy in the city’s mayoral election.
The former PDI-P senior politician, who previously led the party's North Sumatra chapter, joined the Democrats after the ruling party refused to nominate him as it leaned toward supporting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law Bobby Nasution instead.
Democratic Party politician Andi Arief announced Akhyar's decision through a post on his Twitter account, in which he also revealed the Democrats teamed up with the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to back the acting Medan mayor in the upcoming race.
"The 2020 Medan mayoral election. It's official, the people's coalition [Democrats-PKS] will be running against a giant coalition supporting President Jokowi's son-in-law," Arief tweeted along with a picture of Akhyar wearing the Democratic Party's blue uniform.
Pilkada Kota Medan 2020, Sah.. Koalisi Rakyat (Demokrat-PKS) menghadapi koalisi raksasa pendukung Mantu Pak Presiden Jokowi. pic.twitter.com/KWrrl4tpis— andi arief (@AndiArief__) July 24, 2020
The head of the Democratic Party's Medan chapter, Burhanuddin Sitepu, confirmed on Saturday that Akhyar had joined the party, which was founded by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
"Akhyar Nasution is now a Democratic Party politician," he told The Jakarta Post.
Burhanuddin said the Democrats and the PKS would nominate Akhyar as their candidate for the Medan mayoral election in December. With support from both parties, which own seven and four council seats respectively, Akhyar has passed the minimum 10-seat requirement needed to secure a nomination.
The Democratic Party Central Executive Board head, Jansen Sitindaon, said Akhyar decided to switch party lines because he shared the "the same goals" and "common interests" with the Democrats.
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The PKS had previously announced that the party would nominate Akhyar in the mayoral race following a meeting between the party's North Sumatra chairman, Hariyanto, and the incumbent on July 14.
Meanwhile, the acting chairperson of the PDI-P’s North Sumatra branch, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, regretted Akhyar's decision, saying that the latter had betrayed the ruling party, which had helped him grow as a politician.
Djarot said the PDI-P refused to back Akhyar in the race because of his relatively poor performance as acting mayor. "The evaluation reports were bad, so [the PDI-P] decided not to nominate him again."
Although the PDI-P has yet to officially confirm Bobby's nomination, Djarot said that the ruling party would likely throw its support behind him.
Bobby officially joined the PDI-P in March in a bid to run in the 2020 Medan mayoral race. The NasDem Party, one of the political parties in Jokowi's ruling coalition, previously confirmed its plan in February to also nominate Bobby. (nal)