JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian politics is heating up after the two opposing camps declared their candidates for the 2019 Presidential Election.
The ruling coalition, consists of Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuangan, Golongan Karya, Kebangkitan Bangsa, Persatuan Pembangunan, Nasdem, Hanura, Solidaritas Indonesia, Perindo and PKPI party, supported President Joko Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin and the opposition, consists of Gerindra, Amanat Nasional, Keadilan Sejahtera and Demokrat party, stand behind their candidates Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.
Over the past couple of years, Indonesia political scene is increasingly polarized, with two camps stand in seemingly unbridgeable ideological and aspiration gaps. This situation is then augmented by the vibrant social media scene, which often only highlight the extremities in society.
The 2019 election will be no different. The opposition, which fights an uphill battle due to low polling numbers, is looking to turn their social media campaign, #2019GantiPresiden, into something more concrete through declaration in public spaces.
This is also an attempt to emulate the winning strategy of the 2017 Jakarta election, which saw a large demonstration based on religious identity tilted the balance in the opposition’s favor.
Despite a long period given for public campaign, the official date is Sept. 23, the opposition seeks an early start by scheduling several #2019GantiPresiden public events.
It is part of the political process for opposition to use the #2019ChangePresiden slogan to undermine the electability of the incumbent president. The jargon is encouraged with populists issue to draw massive support. Even more, they use the identity issues like religion, ethnicity, group to court voters.
The incumbent has their own slogan in order to stay in power, #2Periode. The incumbent has campaigned on his success during his leadership by using the government structure. Beside that,his power base and structural authority make it easy for him to get access for voters mobilizations on all walk of society. The opposition has no such luxury.
The political move of the opposition with #2019changethepresident slogan received a lot of backlash from mass protesters in a number of regions. The latest case in Surabaya , East Java, a planned declaration by Ahmad Dani, an Indonesian singer and TV celebrity and in Pekanbaru, Riau by Neno Warisman, a former singer received resistance from mass protesters.
Both declarations then were canceled.
Backlash by using counter mass protesters may backfire and increase the popularity of the #2019GantiPresiden slogan. If this situation continues, it will draw people’s sympathy for the opposition group from those who are actually still neutral ahead of election.
The neutral group will consider the opposition camps as the victim of the people in power who need to be defended. The resistance against the opposition camp action by pitting one camp of protesters againts other mass protester are not the best way to handle the situation and has the potential to downgrade the electability of the incumbent.
Beside that, the resistance against the opposition’s campaigning will draw many people ‘s attention including from mass media. It will give benefit for the opposition because they get free and effective help in their campaign. The resistance by mobilizing counter protester has potential to incite social conflict .
The clash caused by different political preferences can be a horizontal conflict involving violence. The high tension can be intensified into chaos if certain parties use sectarian issue as a catalyst for conflict.
The respective camps who support their candidate in 2019 election should improve their response to the slogan and political action of their rival. A political slogan should be fought back with other political slogans. There are many smart ways to mobilize voters without sacrificing the nation ‘s unity.
The incumbent and opposition have power, advantage and political consequence that can be used optimally. In this context, #2019ChangethePresident as a propaganda tool of the opposition to draw the mass , should be fought back by the incumbent by using other slogan to draw mass.
The incumbent has many advantage that can be used as realistic slogan materials. It will be better fight back by using slogan also rather than mass protester in fighting the slogan. The resistance action by using countering mass protesters will be detrimental to the efforts to get people’s sympathy for incumbents.
Beside that, the involving of the mass protester will draw the involvement of security and intelligent officers. This situation will create public opinion that the incumbent has used security and intelligent officers for political gains. It will not easy to make the people and the opposition believe that security apparatus will stay neutral in the 2019 election.
Written by Stanislaus Riyanta, TIS Intelligence Expert and Doctoral Student at University of Indonesia
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