Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has sacked members who have refused to support the nomination of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law, Bobby Afif Nasution, for mayor of Medan, North Sumatra.
The dismissal came three days prior to Bobby's registration with the General Elections Commission (KPU), scheduled on Friday, for the simultaneous regional elections in December.
Hasyim, the head of the PDI-P's Medan chapter, confirmed on Tuesday that four executives from the Medan PDI-P branch management (PAC) had been fired for not supporting Bobby's candidacy.
The four were Medan PAC Johor chair Gumana Lubis, Medan PAC Perjuangan chair Tumpal Sitanggang, Medan PAC area chair Suhardian and Medan PAC Selayang chair Muda Prana Sinuraya.
"The dismissed [members] were provocateurs who rejected Bobby's candidacy. On the contrary, they openly supported Medan acting mayor Akhyar Nasution, who is Bobby's rival in the regional election," Hasyim told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Hasyim said other PDI-P members could face dismissal if they were found to support Akhyar.
Akhyar, formerly a senior PDI-P member, was recently fired from his position in the party's North Sumatra chapter after he turned his back on the ruling party and joined the Democratic Party to secure his candidacy in the city's mayoral race.
He jumped ship after Bobby, who had been a member of the PDI-P for five months, was touted as a candidate for the race by PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri – a decision opposed by a number of PDI-P members in Medan, including the four recently fired officials.
Previously, former Medan PAC Perjuangan chair Tumpal Sitanggang said he rejected Bobby's nomination because he was not a true PDI-P member and was a "forced candidate".
"PDI-P is a party of members, not a family party. Therefore, we reject Bobby's nomination because he is not a member," said Tumpal, adding he was ready to bear the consequences of his position.
Tumpal said his team was ready to support Akhyar's candidacy even though he had been nominated by another party. "We will build strength to support Akhyar Nasution," he said.
PDI-P Medan chapter secretary Robi Barus said Bobby's registration with the regional KPU would take place on Friday. The Gerinda Party, the Golkar Party, the NasDem Party and the United Development Party (PPP) have joined the PDI-P in supporting Bobby's nomination
The nomination of Akhyar and his running mate Salman Alfarisi has been backed by the Democratic Party and the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Salman is a PKS member who currently serves as the North Sumatra Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) deputy speaker.
Democratic Party chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono said he would provide full support for Akhyar in the Medan mayoral race.
"We will give full support and prayers. Of course, we will fight together, sweat together," Agus said in a recent video message to Akhyar. (syk)