Gerindra (conditionally) gives up Jakarta vice governor post to PKS to end drawn out drama

(L-R): Former Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno, Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. Photo: @Prabowo / Instagram
(L-R): Former Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno, Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. Photo: @Prabowo / Instagram

Jakarta has been without a vice governor ever since Sandiaga Uno resigned in August to run as Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto’s running mate in next April’s presidential election. Since then, there’s been a long tussle over the vacancy involving Gerindra and one of their biggest allies in the opposition coalition, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

But now it appears Gerindra, under the orders of Prabowo, have conceded the vice governor post to PKS, soon after the latter issued a thinly veiled threat to stop the “political machine” of the opposition.

Among those to make the announcement was Gerindra Jakarta Regional Executives Chairman Mohammad Taufik, who himself has been heavily linked with the job (and who is registered to run in next year’s general election, despite the fact that he has been convicted of corruption in the past).

“This is not because of [the threat by] PKS. This is fulfilling the wish of the [Gerindra] chairman,” Taufik told Kompas yesterday.

However, it does not seem like Gerindra has definitively given up on the vice governorship, with Taufik saying there are conditions under which PKS can have one of their cadres become Governor Anies Baswedan’s second-in-command.

“We don’t want blank cheques. PKS can’t suddenly decide on two names. I don’t want that, they have to go through fit and proper tests,” he said.

Taufik added that, should any of the candidates from PKS fail to meet the requirements set by a panel consisting of Gerindra and PKS politicians as well as the Jakarta City Council, then they can put forward alternative candidates — but so could Gerindra.

Taufik’s statement did not go over well with some at PKS, with one party executive calling it “illogical” and saying that they would ensure that the next vice governor is from PKS.

Amid the ongoing political drama, the Home Affairs Ministry says it has urged Governor Anies to appoint a vice governor as soon as possible but conceded that, as per regulations, Jakarta could be without a vice governor until 2021.

“[The position] can be filled, at the latest, 18 months before the end of the governor’s tenure (a 5-year period beginning in 2017),” Home Affairs Ministry Regional Autonomy Director General Soni Sumarsono told Merdeka.

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