Police Commissioner General Budi Waseso a.k.a. Buwas, the head of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (BNN), has rejected the call from the opposition party Gerindra to become their governor candidate in Jakarta’s 2017 gubernatorial election. Gerindra is now back to the option of choosing either Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Sandiaga Uno, or Yusril Ihza Mahendra. The problem is that neither one of them has the electability that can match the electability of the incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. Is this a dead end for Gerindra?

In a statement delivered at the Presidential Palace on Thursday (July 14), Buwas firmly said that he’s not a politician and that he did not have the competence to work as a head of region. Buwas, moreover, noted that he has not been in communication with Gerindra on the matter.

It was Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the deputy chairman of Gerindra and member of the Party’s Advisory Council, that first spoke of the idea of pairing Buwas and Sandi in order to challenge Ahok in the Jakarta race. Sandi seems open to the idea of being paired with Buwas. He even sung praises for Buwas, referring to the latter as a phenomenal figure with great capability of bringing a sense of security to Jakartans.

But Sandi’s positive response is not so surprising since the idea of being paired with Buwas could increase his chance at securing Gerindra’s nomination. Indeed, Sandi’s chance at being endorsed by Gerindra has been getting slimmer by the day. This is the case because it appeared that Prabowo Subianto, the chairman and the patron leader of Gerindra, had already chosen Sjafrie, his former classmate in the 1974 Military Academy (Akabri), as Gerindra’s governor candidate for Jakarta. With Buwas’ rejection, Gerindra (and Sandi) would suffer a blow. Gerindra in particular seems desperate to beat Ahok, but they can’t deny the polls.

Gerindra, the third largest political party in Jakarta, should be able to endorse their own pair of governor of vice governor candidates after establishing a coalition with their last remaining ally PKS. But the problem is that this coalition does not have a figure that cab match with Ahok’s high level of electability. PKS seems unconvinced by Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin. Hidayat Nur Wahid, one of the key leaders of PKS, recently praised Sjafrie’s track record in the military, but he also said that the PKS wanted Sjafrie to first demonstrate his electability and his capability to lead the capital city. At this point, the question is: what will Gerindra do to go out of this dead end?

As we all know, the incumbent is so far the only candidate that has already secured the official endorsement of Golkar, Hanura, and Nasdem. The incumbent also has the option of running in the race as an independent candidate, since his group of supporters called Teman Ahok had successfully collected more than a million copies of identity cards from Jakartans eager to endorse Ahok’s independent candidacy (an independent candidate is required to collect 532,000 copies of identity cards as a show of endorsement to qualify for the race).

The worst case scenario for Gerindra and PKS is to endorse Sjafrie and Sandi. But they would only have a better fighting chance with PDI-P in their coalition. PDI-P, as we all know, is the largest political party in Jakarta and the Party has the current Vice Governor of Jakarta Djarot Saiful Hidayat as one of their strongest governor candidates. With PDI-P in, Gerindra and PKS would have to reconsider their nomination. PDI-P would want their candidate to lead. So this kind of negotiation will have to take place. Furthermore, there are still those within the PDI-P, including Megawati Soekarnoputri, that reportedly still prefer to endorse Ahok.

By Haryanto Suharman

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