Jakarta. Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, blasted reports that his family is grooming a political dynasty, as he secured nomination for the mayoral election in Solo, Central Java.
“I can win or lose in this election and there is no obligation for anybody to vote for me,” Gibran said in an internal discussion of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on Friday.
“People can vote for me or against me. This is about election, not job appointment. What political dynasty?” the 32-year-old said.
Gibran, who has built a successful food franchise selling modernized versions of the martabak, or sweet pancakes, is nominated by PDI-P, the same party that brought Jokowi to the presidency in 2014 and 2019.
The president started his political career as the mayor of Solo, where he built reputation as a populist leader before winning the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012 and going unstoppable to his first presidential term only two years later.
All but one party in the Solo Legislative Council have thrown support behind Gibran, meaning that only independent candidates can challenge him in the mayoral race. Otherwise, he will face blank votes in the Dec. 9 election.
The PDIP said the prospect of Gibran facing blank votes would do no harm to the democratic values.
"The Constitutional Court has ruled that in the case of a sole candidate during an election, voters are provided with the blank votes as a choice to maintain a sound democratic process," PDI-P Secretary-General Hasto Kristianto said.
The overwhelming majority of supports from political parties behind Gibran’s candidacy is a “political reality” that everybody must accept, he added.
However, critics have said that Gibran’s might have used his father’s influence to win the candidacy.
He met with PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri in October last year, when the party’s district chapter in Solo had already proposed deputy mayor Achmad Purnomo as their candidate for the mayoral race.
Last week, Megawati confirmed that Gibran was among 45 candidates who won PDI-P nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial, mayoral and district head elections across the country.
The president also came under criticisms for the looming nomination of his son-in-law, Bobby Nasution, in another mayoral race in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra.
Megawati has delayed announcement on the party’s pick for the Medan mayoral race, but the provincial chapter has nominated Bobby, who is married to Jokowi’s daughter Kahiyang Putri.
Djarot Syaiful Hidayat, the acting chairman of PDI-P’s North Sumatra chapter, said he had proposed Bobby as a candidate.
“Bobby Nasution is a young, hard-working candidate who has plenty of innovations and fresh ideas and he deserves our support for the Medan mayoral election,” Djarot said.
Bobby, for his part, has made no secret about his bid.
"We believe the PDI-P will give their support because I have been leading in recent polls. Other parties have signaled their support as well,” Bobby said on Friday.
With 10 seats in the Medan Legislative Council, PDI-P doesn’t need to form a coalition to nominate a candidate. The same fate also goes to the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra.
If Gerindra shares a candidate with PDI-P, other parties must establish a coalition to nominate a challenger.
The Social Justice Party (PKS), widely regarded as an opposition to the Jokowi administration, is likely to nominate acting Medan Mayor Akhyar Nasution. The party is currently approaching the Democratic Party to meet the mayoral election threshold.