Infighting could ruin Jokowi's bid

Infighting could ruin Jokowi's bid
Jakarta governor and presidential candidate from PDI-P party, Joko Widodo, shows his ballot paper during voting in the parliamentary elections in Jakarta.

Internal rifts within the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in the wake of the party's poorer-than-expected results in Wednesday's legislative election could jeopardize Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's chances in the July 9 presidential election.

Jokowi, who is the PDI-P's presidential candidate, could not hide his disappointment upon learning of the party's electoral results based on quick counts. The PDI-P, despite being ahead in the counts, appears to have garnered only 18 to 19 per cent of the vote.

Numerous surveys and analysts had predicted the PDI-P would garner 27 per cent of the vote with Jokowi as its front man.

Jokowi said late on Wednesday that the PDI-P's showing could have been better if the party's political machinery had worked harder.

"The political marketing was not pushed to its limit," criticised Jokowi, referring to the party's minimal campaign ads that positioned him as an icon. "So if you asked me if I am disappointed, then clearly I am," he added.

The responsibility for winning the legislative election was that of PDI-P chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri's daughter, Puan Maharani, who headed the party's campaign team. Puan acknowledged on Wednesday that the quick count results were far below the party's expectations and an internal evaluation would be conducted immediately.

Since the legislative campaign period last month, both Jokowi and Puan mostly went separate ways. Someone from Jokowi's inner-circle said that the party almost did not provide any funds for Jokowi to campaign, leaving the governor to use his personal savings.

Jokowi also could not freely use the two rented aircraft provided by the party as they were always reserved by Megawati and Puan.

Several of the PDI-P's top brass gathered at Megawati's residence on Jl. Teuku Umar in Central Jakarta late on Wednesday to evaluate the party's electoral performance. A source said that during the meeting, rifts started to surface as most of Jokowi's supporters blamed Puan for the party's disappointing performance.

Commenting on the issue, PDI-P deputy secretary-general Ahmad Basarah said no rifts had emerged after the quick counts.

"There were dynamics within our internal evaluation, but this is common in any political party or institution. Dynamics are not the same as conflict," Ahmad said at the PDI-P headquarters in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, on Thursday.

He said the PDI-P also felt that the quick count results could not be used as a basis to judge whether the party's political machinery had done its job or not.

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