After months of speculation over whether or not Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama would run in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election with political party endorsement, the governor today finally confirmed that he has decided to run as an independent.
This is undoubtedly music to the ears of volunteer group Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok), who have so far collected over 770,000 Jakartan voter IDs in support of Ahok, which enables the governor to run without any political party endorsement in 2017.
Ahok said that he came to the decision last night after a meeting with members of Teman Ahok at his home.
“They (Teman Ahok) came to my house with a lawyer and everything and stayed until almost 10:30 pm,” Ahok said today, as quoted by Vivanews.
“They need time [to process the civilian support for Ahok] so they couldn’t wait any longer.”
Ahok added that he previously intended to wait if the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) would endorse his campaign. But he eventually decided to honor Teman Ahok’s wishes to immediately announce his independent candidacy, as the volunteer group needs a few months to verify all of the voter IDs they collected so that they can be handed over to the General Elections Commission (KPU) before the cut off date in July 2016.
Unfortunately, Ahok won’t be able to run with Djarot Saiful Hidayat like he wished, as the current vice governor is a member of PDI-P. Instead, Ahok picked Jakarta’s Finance and Regional Asset Management Agency head Heru Budi Hartono as his running mate.
We hope the voter IDs verification will go off without a hitch so that Ahok-Heru’s independent run can finally become official. Ahok could make history if he wins in 2017 by becoming the first ever Jakarta governor elected through an election without any political party endorsement.