Ahok ready to run for vice president

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama: (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama: (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Gerindra Party member, revealed on Tuesday that he had been touted as a potential vice presidential candidate for this year’s presidential election.

“During informal luncheons, my colleagues in Gerindra have said that I may be a potential running mate for [Gerindra chief patron] Pak Prabowo [Subianto],” Ahok said at City Hall, adding that “however, there was no formal decision yet”.

He acknowledged that Gerindra should focus on grabbing as many votes as possible during the legislative election, slated to be held on April 9.

“Without gaining more than 20 percent of the seats at the House of Representatives, how can Gerindra nominate its own presidential candidate?” he said.

Despite no formal arrangement from Gerindra, Ahok hinted that he would not refuse the offer.

“If I am asked by my party to run [for vice president], I’ll certainly accept the request. Whether it is to run for governor or president, I’m prepared to serve my party,” he cited.

When asked whom he would choose if both Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo ask him to be their running mate, he declined to answer and instead responded with a joke.

“I’ll just ask to stay at City Hall and be DKI 1 so my picture will be displayed at the office,” he said.

DKI 1 is a colloquial term that means Jakarta Governor.

“Pak Jokowi’s nomination is in the hands of Bu Mega. Pak Prabowo’s nomination also depends on the number of votes Gerindra can garner,” Ahok added, referring to Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who has been given the mandate to select PDI-P’s presidential candidate.

Jokowi has been touted as a strong contender during the presidential election this year, closely followed by Prabowo.

If Jokowi is eventually nominated, Prabowo would be the only contender who could pose a threat to the Jakarta governor in the presidential race.

Several pollsters conducted surveys that showed the PDI-P’s electoral power would be boosted by 5 to 10 percent if Jokowi was named their presidential candidate before the legislative election.

This means that many people who are not PDI-P supporters may well vote for the party in April if it announces Jokowi’s nomination beforehand. The Jakarta Post

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