Political Parties in a Battle of the Stars
Political parties are engaging in a game of celebrity one-upmanship as they rush to sign on stars for the 2014 elections.
The United Development Party (PPP) is just the latest to scour the ranks of singers and actors for candidates who can trade in on their name recognition for a run at the House of Representatives.
Arwani Thomafi, chairman of the Islamic party’s central executive board, confirmed they were approaching celebrities, including some who have already been contacted by the Golkar Party.
“The PPP is asking celebrities to run for the legislature because a celebrity’s popularity can have a great impact and bring in more votes for the PPP in the 2014 elections,” he said on Friday.
Among those already given the PPP pitch, he said, are senior actor-producer Dedi Mizwar, singer Cici Paramida and singer-actress Desy Ratnasari.
“The PPP will give them political training to help them prepare to do the work of legislators,” said Arwani, who is also the party’s House secretary. A final list of candidates will be drawn up in coming months, but he didn’t say how many celebrities would be on it. “The party will prepare 1,200 candidates for the legislature,” he said. Former models Ratih Sanggarwati and Okky Asokawati and actor Rahman Yacob are already PPP lawmakers.
The House last month passed a law that will see voters in 2014 casting ballots for individual candidates, not political parties, making name recognition vital.
Earlier this week, Nurul Arifin, Golkar’s deputy secretary general, said the party had started a program to recruit and provide political training to celebrities so they could run for office in 2014.
Desy, singers Ari Lasso and Katon Bagaskara, and former beauty queen Artika Sari Devi are already undergoing Golkar’s yearlong “internship” program, meant to prepare them to run for the House.
“We recruit them as interns to provide them training in politics so they can be ready to run in the legislative elections,” said Nurul, a former actress.
Golkar has formed a special team whose sole purpose is to deal with celebrities. It is led by senior lawmaker and former television presenter Tantowi Yahya.
Of course, celebrities don’t always work out for parties. Angelina Sondakh, a former beauty queen turned Democratic Party lawmaker, has been named a suspect and detained in a graft case. Antara