Haeril Halim and Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, March 17 2014, 9:37 AM
Political party leaders and presidential hopefuls started their tours around the country on Sunday to garner support in the run up to the April 9 legislative election.
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) presidential candidate, in his first outdoor campaign event in Jakarta, said that a big win for the party in the legislative election would determine the party’s chances in the presidential election, slated for July 9.
“This is going to be difficult without support from all of you. Invite all your relatives, neighbors and friends to the polling stations. Make sure that the ‘bull’ wins the ticket to the State Palace to make Indonesia ‘red’,” Jokowi said referring to the party’s symbol and color.
Jokowi and the party’s executives, including secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo, visited a number of historical sites in the capital, including the Sumpah Pemuda (Youth’s Pledge) and Declaration of Independence museums in Central Jakarta, as part of their campaign trek on Sunday.
“It’s time for a leader to visit and directly meet with the people instead of the people going to meet the leader,” he said.
Also on Sunday, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) held its first outdoor campaign event in Jakarta, causing gridlock around the city.
Speaking at a rally inside Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, PKS chairman Anis Matta said the party had “fully recovered” from the impact of the beef-graft case and was hoping to finish in the top three in the legislative election.
“In the past year, there was drama that shook our party. But today, the PKS is ready to become the brain, heart and backbone of Indonesia,” said Anis to more than 100,000 party supporters.
In his speech, Anis avoided the use of the word “corruption” and instead chose “drama” when referring to the graft case that resulted in the party’s former chairman being handed down a 16-year prison sentence.
Hanura Party chairman and presidential candidate Wiranto kicked off his campaign in Blitar regency, East Java, convincing all party supporters that the party had thoroughly trained all of its legislative candidates.
“[Hanura] knows and understands what the people need, thus, we are providing you with the best legislative candidates,” he said.
Gerindra Party’s chief patron and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto dispatched 20 ambulances that would dispense health services for cities in Java to mark the beginning of the party’s campaign activities.
By providing the free health services for the poor around Java, he hoped that Gerindra could be more responsive to the needs of the people.
In East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the Nasdem Party broke away from tradition by holding a charity event.
“We opted to hold a charity event involving thousands of supporters rather than to hold an outdoor campaign event in East Manggarai, NTT,” Nasdem East Sumba branch head David Sutarto said on Sunday.
Nasdem founder and chairman Surya Paloh staged an outdoor campaign event in Aceh, the province that has been rocked by violent conflicts for years.
Meanwhile, Golkar Party chairman and presidential hopeful Aburizal Bakrie campaigned in Serang regency, Banten province. (fss/dhi)
Margareth S Aritonang, Markus Makur and Sita W. Dewi contributed to this story.