Dems Vow to Get All-Important PKS Votes for Fauzi’s Runoff Bid

By webadmin on 10:22 am Jul 17, 2012
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The Democratic Party says it will pull out all the stops to ensure that Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo wins a runoff election scheduled for September, promising to deliver up the most important scalp in the battle: the endorsement of the Prosperous Justice Party.

Syarief Hassan, a member of the Democrats’ board of patrons, said on Monday that the prospect of Fauzi winning the runoff against Solo Mayor Joko Widodo was contingent mainly on the support of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and to a smaller extent on the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).

“We believe they’re with us,” he said.

“We have a special closeness with them, especially considering that all of them are our coalition partners in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government.”

Syarief said senior Democrats were currently lobbying their counterparts from the PKS, the PAN and the PPP — all Islamic-based parties — to back Fauzi ahead of the Sept. 20 poll.

“We’re confident we can win the runoff, but everyone has to work all-out,” he said.

“We’ve also got to work really closely with the candidates that didn’t make it into the runoff, so that we can channel their votes to our candidate.”

Fauzi came in second in last Wednesday’s election, with 34 percent of the vote.

Joko, known as Jokowi, had 43 percent, according to exit polls. The official results are expected out later this week.

Although the winner on the day, Jokowi failed to get the 50 percent minimum that would have prevented a runoff, leaving him and Fauzi tussling for the votes garnered by the four other candidates.

Of those, the most valuable share of votes went to the PKS candidate, Hidayat Nur Wahid, who got 12 percent.

Various analysts agree on the importance of the PKS vote, pointing out that the party’s famously loyal grass-roots supporters will almost invariably vote for the candidate backed by the party leaders.

The prospect of the Democrats securing the endorsement of the PKS for Fauzi looks shaky, however. The party was the only one that stood against Fauzi in the 2007 election, narrowly losing out.

It also has a tradition of going against the Democrats, which could bode well for Jokowi, who is backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party.

“Both sides have approached us, but we have not yet taken any stance,” said PKS official Muhamad Gunawan.

“We are still studying the political dynamics developing on the ground.”
Additional reporting from Antara