PKS May Decline to Back Either Jakarta Gubernatorial Candidate
Lenny Tristia Tambun &Markus Junianto Sihaloho
While the Prosperous Justice Party could have a major say in whether incumbent Fauzi Bowo or Solo Mayor Joko Widodo wins Jakarta’s top post, the party is likely stay neutral and let its supporters decide for themselves, analysts say.
Hidayat Nur Wahid, the candidate supported by the Islamic party, known as PKS, garnered only 12 percent of votes during last Wednesday’s gubernatorial election, according to several quick counts.
Joko is supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra), while Fauzi is backed by the Democratic Party and National Mandate Party (PAN).
Observers said that as PKS supporters are generally loyal to the party, the votes the party received in last week’s election will likely move in a bloc in accordance with the party’s wishes.
Results from quick counts showed that Joko topped the election with about 43 percent of the vote while Fauzi finished second with 34 percent.
“PKS is in dilemma because it traditionally doesn’t like the PDI-P, which supports Jokowi,” Agus Herta Sumarto, a researcher from the Political Research Institute for Democracy (Pride), said on Tuesday referring to Joko. “PKS voters are also afraid that if they support Fauzi, they will lose more popularity among voters ahead of the 2014 [national] legislative election.”
He said that ideological differences between the PKS and PDI-P kept the two from forming a coalition. PKS and the Democratic Party have been in coalition.
“Many PKS officials have said backing Fauzi will damage the party’s image, so I think they will refrain from officially supporting either candidate but let their supporters decide for themselves,” Agus said.
The campaign teams of both Joko and Fauzi, however, have claimed to have received the support of the PKS.
Just hours after the election, Joko visited Hidayat’s camp, with several of his close aides saying they will work together, just like when Hidayat supported Joko’s bid for Solo mayor.
Syarief Hassan, a member of the Democrats’ board of patrons, on Monday expressed optimism that the PKS would support Fauzi.
“We believe they’re with us,” he said. “We have a special closeness with them, especially considering that all of them are our coalition partners in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government.”
PKS official Muhamad Gunawan said that both sides had approached the party, adding that the party leaders were yet to make a decision.