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Indonesian democratic party targeted as campaign heats up

Publication Date : 26-03-2014


The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) nearly saw its rally in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Tuesday turn chaotic after local party officials confronted a large group of motorcyclists intentionally disrupting the event.

Rowdiness ensued at the start of the event at 2 p.m. when hundreds of motorcyclists wearing PDI-P gear started gathering around Denggung Square.

Many of the motorcyclists started revving their engines to interfere with loudspeakers, even after party chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri and her entourage arrived at the venue. Actions only intensified after Megawati began her speech. Dozens of others soon left the audience to join the motorcyclists in revving their engines but from inside the venue, distracting those wanting to listen to Megawati’s speech.

Megawati, however, seemed unperturbed by the disruption. “I know who is behind this,” she said. “But I know that many of you still want to hear what I have to say,” she said in a high-pitched voice.

The situation grew heated when PDI-P Yogyakarta chapter head Idham Samawi and dozens of security officers asked the motorcyclists to leave. Idham did not deny that the party might have been dealing with provocateurs. “Yes, that is possible,” he told The Jakarta Post.

The Post asked several motorcyclists why they were gunning their engines near the venue, but they refused to answer and fled the scene.

In Cilacap, Central Java, Gerindra Party chief patron Prabowo Subianto launched another attack at his main rival, PDI-P presidential candidate and Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

The former general called on his supporters not to vote for a “puppet”. “Indonesia is too worthy to be led by a puppet,” he said, possibly referring to the belief that Jokowi is nothing but Megawati’s puppet.

But Prabowo was evasive when asked if he was referring to Jokowi. “Go find out which candidate lies and breaks promises,” he said.

Recently, an agreement made between Megawati and Prabowo prior to the 2009 presidential race was leaked to the media. It contained a point stating “Megawati supports Prabowo’s presidential bid
in 2014.”

But PDI-P executives have claimed that the agreement was no longer valid because the Megawati-Prabowo ticket lost in 2009.

In Padang, West Sumatra, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Anis Matta also took a jab at Jokowi. “There is a leader who has become very popular while his performance has been actually nothing special,” he said before some 5,000 supporters.

Anis hinted that he was referring to a candidate from a “Coca Cola” party, referring to PDI-P’s red color. “Drinking too much Coca Cola is not healthy while drinking air putih [mineral water] is healthy,” he added. Putih is Indonesian for white, which is PKS’ color.

In Surabaya, Hanura Party chairman and presidential candidate Wiranto claimed that Hanura was “the least-corrupt party”. The former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander said that in the next five years, the party would focus on protecting citizens, optimizing intelligence and welfare.

Hanura’s rally in the East Java provincial capital also featured a performance by dangdut singer Ayu Ting Ting.

The Golkar Party, meanwhile, campaigned in Surakarta, Central Java, where its top leaders expressed the party’s plan to form an alliance with several parties. “We have been communicating with many prominent figures, such as [former Constitutional Court chief justice] Mahfud MD, [East Java Governor and Democratic Party patron] Sukarwo, [Democratic Party presidential convention participant] Pramono Edhie Wibowo and [former minister] Khofifah Indar Parawansa,” Akbar Tandjung, the head of the party’s advisory council, told journalists on the sidelines of the rally.


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