Fri, 09 Aug 2002

Plot thickens as factions prepare for election

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The tension in gubernatorial election process was turned up another notch on Thursday as the disappointed United Development Party (PPP) faction, which has 12 of the 85 seats in the Council, rejected a decree on the nomination of the gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial candidates.

They refused to sign the decree to officially nominate the 14 pairs of gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial candidates submitted by the council's 11 factions, as the PPP councillors objected to the shifting of some candidates from a gubernatorial position into a vice gubernatorial position.

PPP disagrees with the arbitrary nomination of City Secretary and Golkar Party member Fauzi Bowo on the ticket as a vice- gubernatorial candidate because he originally stated his intention to run for governor. They also complained about the nomination of Secretary general of PAN Abdillah Toha, who similarly intended to run for governor but was nominated by PAN as a vice gubernatorial candidate.

"We will not sign the decree," PPP faction Chairman Ridho Kamaluddin said.

Also on Thursday, some 20 supporters from the Jakarta chapter of the National Mandate Party (PAN), led by chairman Daniel Abdullah Sani also demonstrated at the City Council building to express a similar criticism.

The protests, however, will apparently not stop the electoral process because the electoral rules do not ban the shifting of a candidate for a gubernatorial position to a vice gubernatorial position.

Fauzi has been paired with incumbent governor Sutiyoso by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), Golkar Party and the Justice and Unity Party factions while Abdillah was placed in the vice gubernatorial slot by PAN, as well as PDI Perjuangan's second choice.

Some factions nominated more than one pair.

The rejection by the PPP faction to approve the decree on the gubernatorial nomination was sparked by its disappointment that Sutiyoso was not paired with Chudlary Syafi'i, the deputy chairman of the City Council from PPP, by PDI Perjuangan.

A number of legislators from PPP have also threatened to reject Sutiyoso's accountability speech. According to Ridho, there was still a "fifty-fifty" split between councillors who wanted to reject the speech and those who would accept it.

"We will make a decision about the accountability speech on Sunday. We will still hold intensive meetings among leaders from the PPP factions and the PPP Jakarta chapter," Ridho added.

All of the Council's factions will have their final say on Sutiyoso's speech at a plenary season on Aug. 12.

If the accountability speech is rejected, Sutiyoso's political career would more than likely be finished.

The loss of support from PPP, the third largest council faction with 12 seats, could be a serious problem for Sutiyoso as there would be Golkar -- comprising only 8 seats at the council -- which would fully support a Sutiyoso-Fauzi ticket while to win the race, the candidates will eventually need to garner more than 50 percent of the votes in the final stage between, most likely, only two tickets. Of course, if a pair manages more than 50 percent in the first round of voting they will be declared the winner.

Votes from PDI Perjuangan will most likely be split into those who support Sutiyoso and those who support the Chairman of the Party's Jakarta Chapter Tarmidi Suhardjo, who is another candidate of the faction on the same ticket with Abdillah.

The Tarmidi-Abdillah ticket will likely receive a lot of support from PAN with 13 seats and the Justice Party (PK) with four seats.

Another potential gubernatorial candidate is the City Council Chairman Edy Waluyo who was nominated as an alternate choice by the PPP faction, the Crescent and Star Party (PBB) with two seats, and the PK faction with four seats.

Edy, who is from the military-police faction, will very likely to get some votes from his 9-member faction.

If the supporters of Edy and Tarmidi cooperate to block Sutiyoso, the next governor could very well be one of them.