PPP, Other Coalition Parties Unsure Whether to Support Fauzi Bowo’s Gubernatorial Bid
Ezra Sihite & Ronna Nirmala
The United Development Party, which was set to officially announce on Sunday its support for Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo in the runoff of the capital’s gubernatorial election, abruptly canceled its announcement at the eleventh hour.
“The announcement will be made after [Sunday],” Arwani Thomafi, deputy secretary of the party known as the PPP said on Sunday. “The PPP will immediately announce its decision on the runoff vote.”
Arwani said the PPP, which had nominated South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin as a candidate for Jakarta governor before he was defeated in the first round of the election, was still undecided.
The PPP has the option of supporting the incumbent or his rival in the runoff, Solo Mayor Joko Widodo. It can also choose to support neither candidate.
Arwani’s remarks were inconsistent with PPP chairman and Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, who said on Friday that Fauzi had more experience in handling Jakarta than Joko, known by his nickname Jokowi.
Fauzi and his running mate, Nachrowi Ramli, finished second in the first round of the elections on July 11 with 34 percent of the total vote. Jokowi and his running mate, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, garnered 42.6 percent of the vote.
The Sept. 20 runoff was called because the election must be won by a majority vote, and neither candidate secured more than 50 percent of votes in the first round.
Suryadharma said PPP officials were communicating with the Fauzi-Nachrowi campaign, and that the party was even involved in deciding a campaign strategy.
Arwani said he was not aware that Suryadharma had indicated the party was supporting Fauzi. He reiterated that no official decision had been made.
The Golkar Party, which also backed Alex’s bid, said it was waiting for a decision from the party’s central leadership board.
“We have yet to decide anything,” Golkar’s deputy secretary general Nurul Arifin said.
Nurul said that in making its decision, Golkar was considering its coalition on the national level with the ruling Democratic Party, which supports Fauzi.
Political analysts have warned that backing the less-popular incumbent might affect a party’s chances in the 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections.
Siti Zuhro, an analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that for members of the ruling coalition, supporting Jokowi, who is backed by opposition parties the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), might hurt their position in the ruling cabinet.
Siti predicted that coalition parties, including Golkar, the PPP, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the National Awakening Party (PKB), would likely choose the safer option of not supporting either candidate.
Even the PKS, which has its differences with other coalition members, is still undecided, party member Triwisaksana said.
“We’re still mulling the three options,” he said. “We just want what’s best for Jakarta residents. The political success of the PKS comes second.”