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Indonesian parties get superstitious on 2014 numbers
The General Elections Commission announced on Monday the results of its drawing for political parties to determine the order they will be listed on the ballot in 2014. Posing with placards indicating their number were (left to right) Patrice Rio Capella (NasDem), Muhaiman Iskandar (PKB), Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq (PKS), Tjahjo Kumolo (PDI-P), Aburizal Bakrie (Golkar), Suhardiman (Gerindra), Anas Urbaningrum (Democratic Party), Hatta Rajasa (PAN), Suharso Monoarfa (PPP), and Wiranto (Hanura). Photo by Wendra Ajistyatama/The Jakarta Post
Publication Date : 15-01-2013
Hours before Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) held a draw to allocate numbers for each political party eligible to contest the 2014 legislative election, executives of the parties turned superstitious.
A good number could mean a good result in the election was the general belief.
Democratic Party executive I Gede Pasek Suardika, for instance said that most party members hoped their parties would get number nine, given its special significance for the party.
“Nine has always been identified with our party,” Pasek said, explaining that the party’s foundation date was Sept 9, 1999.
The number also has a special meaning for the party’s chief pa-tron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“The number was also our lucky number in the 2004 election when our chief patron was elected president for the first time,” Pasek said.
The Democratic Party, however, did not get what it wished for, but settled for lucky number seven on the ballot, which was greeted with joy by the party’s bigwigs.
“We have a popular brand of cold medicine called Bintang Tujuh (Seven Stars) and we hope that with this number we can also remedy our situation,” chairperson of the Democratic Party faction in the House of Representatives Nurhayati Ali Assegaf said.
Shortly before the draw, the Golkar party said it could be happy with any number less than six.
The party deputy secretary-general, Nurul Arifin, said that any number between one and five would make it easy for party campaigners to make a hand gesture or signal.
“We hope that we will get a number up to five, so that we don’t have to use both of our hands to show our party number to supporters,” Nurul said, adding that a smaller number was also easier to remember.
Golkar did get what it wanted when number five was drawn.
The same streak of luck also favoured the newly-formed National Democratic (NasDem) Party which is now at the top of the list at number one.
“This is a blessing for us, although we don’t believe in superstition, as everything depends on our hard work. But with this number, God willing, it will be easy for us to communicate with the public,” NasDem deputy chairman Sugeng Suparwoto told reporters.
Executives of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) also considered themselves lucky after drawing number three.
“We can at least hope that we will come out in third position,” PKS executive and member of the House of Representatives, Indra said.
Following close behind the PKS, at four, comes the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Officials from the PDI-P seemed disappointed with the outcome: the number four is associated with death by the Chinese.
The party of former commander of the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto, Gerindra got number six, one spot ahead of the Democratic Party.
Behind the Democratic Party are the National Mandate Party (PAN) at number eight, the United Development Party (PPP) at number nine with the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) at the bottom of the list.
Hanura secretary-general Saleh Husein said that although the party came last on the list, he was confident that their number would further boost the popularity of the party.
Saleh said that the number was popular among soccer fans the world over.
“Messi’s jersey number is also 10. So this can be a strategy that we can use to communicate with our potential supporters,” he said, referring to four-time world-best soccer player Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona.
Early last week, the KPU announced the 10 political parties that had passed the factual verification process and were thus eligible to contest the 2014 legislative election.
Several minor parties disqualified from contesting the poll have threatened to file a lawsuit against the KPU ruling, stalling efforts by major political parties to ally with them, at least for now.