Jakarta – The secretary general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Hasto Kristiyanto, said Tuesday that Rizieq Shihab's lawyer, Kapitra Ampera, was among the hopefuls in the 2019 legislative election.
Hasto said Kapitra's electoral region was West Sumatra, a province known as a stronghold of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organization. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's rival, Prabowo Subianto, scored a landslide victory with nearly 77 percent of the vote in the province during the 2014 presidential election.
"We're considering the hopes of the people, including those in West Sumatra," said Hasto as quoted by tribunnews.com on Tuesday at the General Elections Commission (KPU) office in Jakarta.
He said the PDI-P had spoken to West Sumatrans, who wanted to have a figure who could act as a bridge between them and the PDI-P. In the 2014 legislative election, the PDI-P was in the eighth position out of 12 parties. The Golkar Party was number one in the province, followed by Prabowo's Gerindra Party.
"[Kapitra] is endorsed by the PDI-P for the West Sumatra electoral region. We received suggestions that the PDI-P should improve its communication, that's why we have recruited a figure from West Sumatra," he said.
He said the PDI-P was building "a house for the nation for Greater Indonesia" so all the nation's problems could be solved by dialogues and discussion embracing "all components of the public".
"Whatever the political ideology, they are all the nation's citizens that have to be invited for dialogue under the leadership of Pak Jokowi. We invite everyone, as long as they hold Indonesian ID cards, to have a dialogue. It is the President's task to build the dialogue, and the PDI-P is the politics of dialogue too," Hasto said.
Kapitra himself, however, was surprised to hear this when journalists confirmed the news to him.
"Running in the legislative election? Who said that?" said Kapitra to tribunnews.com on Tuesday. "I have never met Hasto in my entire life," he said. Kapitra said he would hold a press conference on Wednesday about Hasto's statement.
Kapitra's client, Rizieq Shihab, is known as one of Jokowi's toughest critics. Rizieq was being investigated by the National Police over pornography allegations, but the police dropped the case last month.
Tuesday is the last day that legislative hopefuls can register with the KPU, whose office is open until midnight.
Among the hopefuls from the PDI-P was Yusuf Supendi, one of the founders of the Justice Party, which now has transformed into the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
Yusuf said he had decided to go with the PDI-P after doing some "research". He said he wanted to change the perception that the PDI-P was anti-Islam and a sympathizer of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
"I'm sure I can fight to correct the false perception by spreading accurate information and showing political behavior that puts forward the benefit for religions, the nation and the state," he said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Yusuf will run in the West Java electoral region, where Jokowi lost to Prabowo in the presidential election in 2014 with only about 40 percent of the vote. (evi)