Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – Hundreds of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) supporters rallied on Thursday in Surakarta, Central Java, to support the nomination of Deputy Mayor Achmad Purnomo for the upcoming mayoral election and reject a bid made by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son.
The supporters, calling themselves the Central Surakarta United Bulls, gathered in front of the office of PDI-P's local chapter in Surakarta. They arrived in a motorbike parade bearing red party attributes.
Achmad, who earned support from the local chapter to run in the mayoral election next year, is now competing with Jokowi's eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who applied to be on the PDI-P ticket through the party's Central Java chapter.
"We chose [Achmad] because he has a lot of experience. At least, he has worked two periods as deputy mayor," Bambang Kede, the group's coordinator, told The Jakarta Post.
Although they showed support for Achmad, Bambang said the group would still wait for the party's central board to make the final call. "Whatever recommendation they issue, we will follow the party's decision," Bambang said.
Previously, another group calling itself the Union of Surakarta People for Elections (PWSPP), said that Gibran was not fit to be city mayor because he is "an outsider". The group claimed that Gibran did not even vote in the Surakarta mayoral election in 2015.
"Gibran was outside of the town or maybe even abroad. This is ironic. During the regional election he did not vote, but now when he runs for election he wants to get our vote," said the group's leader, Johan Syafaat Mahanani.
However, Johan said that PWSPP supported Gibran to run to be deputy mayor.
"We are not refusing. We are just concerned if Gibran runs now. If he wants to run, it should be five years from now. He has to exercise his vote in the 2020 mayoral election first," he said.
Gibran decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, who began his political career as the city's mayor, after learning of a survey that placed him among the popular candidates for the mayoral election, along with Achmad.
By the time he applied to the Surakarta chapter, the local party committee had already decided to support Achmad. Gibran later tendered his application for the mayoral race with the Central Java chapter. (gis)