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4 parties pick ex-president Yudhoyono’s son as Jakarta Governor candidate

JAKARTA — Four major political parties yesterday picked newcomer Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono — son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) — together with current Jakarta Deputy Governor for Tourism and Culture Sylviana Murni to run in next year’s Jakarta gubernatorial election, pitting the pair against popular incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and Vice-Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

4 parties pick ex-president Yudhoyono’s son as Jakarta Governor candidate

The Democratic Party, the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) decided to support Mr Agus Yudhoyono after a series of meetings at the former president’s — also the Democratic Party chairman — residence in Cikeas, West Java, early yesterday. Photo: Reuters

JAKARTA — Four major political parties yesterday picked newcomer Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono — son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) — together with current Jakarta Deputy Governor for Tourism and Culture Sylviana Murni to run in next year’s Jakarta gubernatorial election, pitting the pair against popular incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and Vice-Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

The Democratic Party, the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) decided to support Mr Agus Yudhoyono after a series of meetings at the former president’s — also the Democratic Party chairman — residence in Cikeas, West Java, early yesterday.

Some have dubbed the coalition of parties the “Cikeas Coalition,” a breakaway group from the six-party “Kinship Coalition”, which also included the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“After a marathon meeting, we’ve unanimously agreed on Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Sylviana Murni as our picks for next year’s Jakarta election,” PAN’s chairman Zulkifli Hasan told media.

Gerindra and PKS picked former national education and culture minister Anies Baswedan and magnate Sandiaga Uno for the three-cornered contest.

“After a long discussion, we have decided to nominate Anies Rasyid Baswedan to be the Jakarta gubernatorial candidate for 2017 and 2022. We nominate Sandiaga Uno as Jakarta deputy governor candidate,” said Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto.

Some analysts have expressed scepticism about Mr Agus Yudhoyono’s chances. “This must be a joke. SBY is a smart man, very meticulous in all he does. But Agus ... you never even hear his name mentioned in any of the polls for the Jakarta election,” Mr Margarito Kamis, an expert on Indonesian state administration law told the Jakarta Globe yesterday.

Mr Kamis noted the former president would not want to lose face by losing to the nominee backed by ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) — Mr Ahok — in next year’s race.

Mr Kamis added that if Mr Agus Yudhoyono loses the elections next year, the former president may consider it a personal loss to Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is the PDI-P chairwoman. Ms Sukarnoputri is Mr Yudhoyono’s predecessor in the presidential office.

“The simple truth is that Agus Harimurti is likely to achieve little more than throw away his military career. He has very little recognition among the Jakarta public and no experience in public administration,” Mr Keith Loveard, a Jakarta-based analyst with Concord Consulting, told TODAY. “His nomination achieves nothing more than to satisfy his father’s desire to establish a dynasty, despite the harsh reality that many are judging SBY’s 10-year rule as president as having achieved far too little.”

Mr Agus Yudhoyono is a Major in the Indonesian Army. The army said yesterday he is in the process of retiring from military service to enter politics.

Commenting on Mr Agus Yudhoyono’s nomination, Mr Ahok noted yesterday “it was SBY’s decision to appoint Agus. He must have been wise in deciding this, he has calculated this.”

Mr Ahok, as incumbent, appears to be the strongest candidate. He is known for his no-nonsense attitude and for cracking down on corruption.

When he took over from Mr Joko Widodo as Jakarta governor after the latter was elected president in 2014, he became the first ethnic Chinese to assume the position.

However, there has been unhappiness on the ground over his ruthless eviction policy in the capital city, as well as his proposal to reclaim Jakarta Bay, which he has said will solve Jakarta’s pollution woes.

Mr Ahok also ruffled feathers among the political elite when he first announced that he would run as an independent in next year’s elections — disrupting traditional nomination procedures among the parties, before being nominated by PDI-P. AGENCIES

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