The National Democrat Party got a head start on its rivals when it filed its applications for the 2014 legislative elections with polling commissions across the country in a coordinated action on Friday.
Patrice Rio Capella, the chairman of the fledgling party known as NasDem, said the applications for the party to field candidates in all constituencies had been prepared long in advance for submission to regional offices of the General Elections Commission (KPU) as well as the KPU head office in Jakarta.
“We want to change the practice of the past, in which political parties always submitted their applications at the last minute,” he said.
“We want to be the first party to apply. We want to lead the change.”
The window for the submission of applications opened on Friday and closes in four weeks, on Sept. 7.
The NasDem team filing applications with the KPU and the Jakarta chapter of the elections commission set off in a parade on Friday morning from the party’s headquarters. The parade included dancers, ondel-ondel statues, lion dancers and a lineup of celebrities.
In Bali, the NasDem team walked two kilometers backward to the provincial KPU office to highlight what it called was Indonesia’s decline and the party’s commitment to helping the country advance.
“This is a show of our concern at the setbacks assailing the people, from welfare decline to economic decline,” said Ketut Budiana, secretary of the party’s Buleleng district chapter.
In Bandung, the procession to the West Java office of the KPU included traditional music and dance performances, according to Charles Meikyansah, head of NasDem’s application-filing team.
In Makassar, South Sulawesi, a convoy of around 1,000 supporters turned out for the walk from the NasDem office to the provincial KPU office.
Once at the KPU office, they held traditional dance performances before submitting their application.
Sanusi Ramadhan, the provincial party chairman, said he was optimistic that the party’s application would be approved and that it would be allowed to field candidates for the 2014 polls.
The party, backed by media moguls Surya Paloh and Hary Tanoesoedibjo, says it is prepared to spend up to Rp 3 trillion ($318 million) to win a targeted 176 seats at the 560-seat House of Representatives, or about $1.8 million a seat.
Party officials say that to meet the goal, NasDem will allocate between Rp 5 billion and Rp 10 billion for each of its 300 legislative candidates. The target, if met, would make it the biggest party in the House. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, the current largest party, has 148 seats, or 26 percent.