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Political Cartel in Jakarta Election

Translator

TEMPO

Editor

Laila Afifa

18 June 2024 11:33 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaPresident Jokowi is plotting for his youngest son to run for the deputy governor of Jakarta. This is a repeat of the presidential election.

The repeated criticism of President Joko Widodo for his intervention in the presidential election has not made him take a back seat. After helping his son to become vice president, now Jokowi is doing everything he can to ensure that his youngest son, Kaesang Pangarep, runs for the Jakarta deputy governorship in the simultaneous regional head elections on November 27.

Whilst Jokowi’s chosen candidate in the presidential election was Gerindra Party General Chair Prabowo Subianto, in Jakarta, he tries ‘riding on the coat tails’ of Golkar Party politician Ridwan Kamil. Jokowi favors the former Governor of West Java to run in Jakarta, and is plotting for Kaesang to be his running mate. However, according to a number of polls, the most popular candidate to lead Jakarta is still Anies Baswedan. Ridwan Kamil is even less popular than former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

Therefore, almost likely, Jokowi’s desires in Jakarta will be hampered by Anies Baswedan, Prabowo Subianto’s main rival in the presidential election. Like his efforts to hinder Anies in the presidential election, this magazine has found that Jokowi persuaded the political elites from the Coalition of Change—the NasDem Party, the Justice and Prosperity Party and the National Awakening Party—to not nominate the former Jakarta governor for the post again. As compensation, Jokowi promised the three parties cabinet seats or reimbursement of their election costs.

It appears that the intervention by the head of state in the presidential election will be repeated in the regional election. At the end of May, the Constitutional Court changed the General Election Commission (KPU) regulation on the age limit for regional heads. Previously, the minimum age for a governor in the time for registration was 30 years. The Constitutional Court justices changed this to 30 years old at the time of inauguration. This change paved the political way for Kaesang, who will only be 30 years old in December.

In the last presidential election, Jokowi’s brother-in-law and Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman changed the General Election Law to allow Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Jokowi’s oldest son, who was still underage, to run for the vice presidency. He then directed voters to vote for his son using civil servants and by providing social assistance funds during the campaign. Thanks to Jokowi’s intervention, the Prabowo-Gibran pairing won 58 percent of the vote.

The Gerindra Party should not go along with Jokowi’s plan. In four months, party General Chair, Prabowo Subianto will be inaugurated as president. Jokowi’s influence will decline after he is no longer head of the government. Supporting the Ridwan Kamil-Kaesang Pangarep pairing would be a sign of Prabowo’s weakening prestige. The former Special Forces Commander should prove that he is not Jokowi’s puppet.

Unfortunately, instead of putting forward their own candidate, some Gerindra politicians are bowing down to Jokowi’s wishes. Their minimalist attitude is regrettable: allowing Jokowi’s plan for Jakarta to go ahead as long as their party members are not disturbed in the West Java regional head election. At present, Gerindra is supporting former Purwakarta Regent Dedi Mulyadi, to be their candidate for the governor of West Java.

The conduct of the elite in colluding to manipulate the law and tarnish elections reinforces political cartel practices. According to Kuskridho Ambardi in Uncovering Political Cartels (2009), since the 1998 Reformasi era began, there have been five characteristics of cartels in the Indonesian party system: the disappearance of ideologies, willingness to form coalitions, lack of opposition, ignoring election results, and collective action by party elites in political maneuvering.

These party cartels are now forced to go along with Jokowi’s wishes because of their involvement in legal cases. Eventually, this leads to pragmatism on two levels. Firstly, they gain from maintaining these dirty political cartel practices. Secondly, they enjoy the support of state resources provided by Jokowi, who is maintaining his power through nepotism.

This mutual relationship between political cartels and a leader without ethics, such as Jokowi, is reflected in the coalitions and collusion over the election of a regional head. Without any sense of shame or feeling of guilt, they are supporting Kaesang Pangarep, a young man without any experience in politics or bureaucracy, in the election.

This systematic damage will spread. In the presidential election last February, anyone not agreeing with the crooked practices of Jokowi was powerless as a result of wicked manipulation and collusion by the political cartels. It seems that the regional elections will be nothing more than a repeat of this grim story.

Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine



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