Indonesia leader Jokowi’s son may go unchallenged in Solo mayor’s race

In Indonesia, the pandemic is throwing up new obstacles to a US$6 billion high-speed rail line link. Photo: AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jul 21, 2020, Jakarta Globe. Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has emerged as the sole candidate to receive formal backing from political parties in the mayoral election in Solo, Central Java, Jakarta Globe reported.

All but one party have thrown support behind Gibran, leaving no place for other potential candidate to join the race comfortably using the traditional political vehicle.

The Social Justice Party, or PKS, has refused to nominate Gibran but it doesn’t have enough seats in the city’s legislative council to nominate its own candidate.

PKS has only five councilors in the 45-member council, still four chairs shy of the mayoral threshold and no ally to form a coalition.

Current deputy mayor Achmad Purnomo admitted he has lost hope of getting a political vehicle to join the race, after being sidelined by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) in favor of Gibran due to “intervention from Jakarta”.

“PKS has only five seats while the remaining parties have formed a coalition with PDIP. There is now way [PSK] will meet the threshold to nominate a candidate,” Achmad said on Monday.

A deputy mayor since 2013, Achmad initially appeared to be a solid PDIP’s choice as the next mayor until Gibran came out and announced his candidacy. Gibran met with PDIP Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri in October last year and from that moment his bid began to gain ground.

“I’m only human and I feel disappointed. I once got the full support from PDIP’s Solo chapter but I was ultimately taken aside. I could accept that. What else could I do?” Achmad said.

PDIP holds an overwhelming majority with 30 seats in the Solo Legislative Council.

The only visible challenger for Gibran is a largely unknown garment businessman, Bagyo Wahyono, who is determined to join the race as an independent candidate.

He must prove support from at least 35,900 Solo residents to qualify as candidate. He has collected around 28,600 supporters so far according to official verification by the city’s General Election Commission.

Bagyo has only a week to hit the minimum number of supporters. If he manages to achieve that, he will become the first ever independent candidate to join the mayoral race in Solo.

Speaking to reporters in Solo, Bagyo said he was optimistic to meet the target and write history. He said “it’s not good for democracy” to have a single candidate walk away unchallenged.

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