SOLO, KOMPAS.com – President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is set to pass his political torch to the next generation.
The president’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has officially endorsed his son Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s run as mayor of Surakarta or Solo, Central Java alongside party stalwart Teguh Prakosa in Jakarta on Friday, July 17.
“[PDI-P Party head and former Indonesian president] Megawati Soekarnoputri has determined that [Gibran and Teguh] will be among the 45 candidates the party nominated for the upcoming regional elections,” said PDI-P secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto.
Gibran thanked Megawati and incumbent Solo mayor FX Rudyatmo, who doubles as Solo’s PDI-P party head, for his candidacy.
“I will work closely with the party rank and file,” he vowed. “I will also work hard to achieve the threshold of 60 percent of votes [that the PDI-P party] targeted to win in the regional elections.”
However, Gibran’s bid for public office is not entirely smooth sailing.
The Management Development Institute of Singapore alumnus ruffled some feathers, among them Achmad Purnomo, Solo’s deputy mayor and PDI-P mayoral hopeful who was also Gibran’s most bitter rival in the race.
“President Jokowi summoned me to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta last Thursday. The president told me to give up [running for mayor] and make way for Gibran’s candidacy in the upcoming race for Solo mayor,” he said. “Jokowi added that it was the PDI-P party’s decision.”
Purnomo added that he accepted the decision.
“I figured this would happen. After all, he is the president’s son. Besides, he is still young while I am old.”
A poll by the Solo Raya institute last June showed that Gibran held a slight lead over Purnomo at 99 to 94 percent.
Political experts expect Gibran to be virtually unopposed in his run as Solo’s mayor. The 32-year-old’s candidacy is endorsed by other parties in the city’s legislature like Golkar and the National Mandate Party or PAN.
Only the opposition Social Justice Party or PKS declined to endorse him.
Gibran is better known as a businessman in the culinary field with a catering business and a chain of restaurants selling sweet martabak pancakes prior to his foray in politics.
If elected, Gibran will follow in Jokowi’s footsteps. The former furniture manufacturer made his political debut as mayor of Solo between 2005 and 2012 prior to his meteoric rise as Indonesia’s seventh president.
(Writers: Tsarina Maharani, Sania Mashabi, Solo Contributor Labib Zamani | Editors: Bayu Galih, Fabian Januarius Kuwado, Khairina)