After a long wait and endless speculation, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has finally announced what many had predicted: the nomination for president of Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
PDI-P deputy secretary-general Puan Maharani made the announcement at the party's central board headquarters in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, on Friday by reading out an official letter of instruction handwritten by her mother, PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, during a press conference.
"I want all elements within the nation to fully support Joko Widodo as the official presidential candidate of the PDI-P," Puan said while quoting Megawati's instructions. "All PDI-P members must also do their best to ensure our victory in the legislative election by closely monitoring each ballot station to prevent fraud and intimidation in any form."
PDI-P secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo said that Megawati made her decision to nominate Jokowi after closely watching the latest political developments in the country and after receiving numerous inputs from various elements from both the party and the general public. "After receiving these inputs and considering the most recent developments up until last night, Bu Mega believes that this is the perfect opportunity to channel the positive momentum for us," Tjahjo said.
Due to the growing popularity of Jokowi, numerous elements within the PDI-P have been pushing Megawati to seize the moment by officially announcing him as a presidential candidate so that the party can gain a major advantage during the legislative election and, thereby, secure a large proportion of the seats at the legislative level.
On Wednesday, Megawati took Jokowi to visit the grave of her father, Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, in Blitar, East Java. This move was seen by many as Megawati's way of implying that she had already given her blessing to the incumbent Jakarta governor to run for the presidency. Previously, many had speculated that Megawati, who has never won a presidential election, would run for president for a third time this year.
The PDI-P's rivals responded coolly to the nomination of Jokowi, who is arguably the toughest candidate in the upcoming election. "We welcome [Jokowi's nomination]. There is nothing to worry about," National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman and Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said after a meeting at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Friday.
Hatta said that his party had prepared a set of strategies that would make them stand out in the upcoming legislative and presidential elections. "The party always has strategies. We have PAN's eight action plans, which are the agenda of PAN campaigners. PAN legislative hopefuls will convey our vision."
Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi said that Jokowi needed to submit a letter asking permission for his presidential nomination to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as regulated in Article 7 of Law No. 42/2008 on presidential elections. "The letter must be conveyed to the President, through the home minister. It is more of an announcement, [rather than asking permission]," he said.
Jokowi, in his role as national campaigner for his party, is authorised to take part in campaign activities only at weekends, as stipulated in the 2012 Elections Law.