Erick Thohir Versus Djoko Santoso: Different Leader, Different Strategy

Erick Thohir

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The two tickets contesting the 2019 presidential election have finally named their respective campaign chairmen – a move that analysts say reflects the strategy and priorities of each side. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has picked a media and sports tycoon, Erick Thohir, who could get him the millennial vote, while his rival, Prabowo Subianto chose a former military general, Djoko Santoso, who could lead his campaign in a strong and steady structural command.

President Jokowi announced last Friday that Erick Thohir, the Mahaka Group’s owner and founder who is also the man behind the successful Asian Games, would lead his re-election campaign. The announcement was hardly a surprise since Erick ‘s name had been widely reported in recent days as the strongest candidate to take the team’s top position.

Speaking to the press, Jokowi lauded Erick as a successful businessman who owns a media company and several sports club. “Erick was also chairman of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC). There are professionals, businessmen and politicians (in our campaign team); it is good to have such a combination,” the president said.

Erick is the president director of PT Mahaka Media, which owns the Islamic daily newspaper Republika, local television station JakTV and popular radio station GenFM among its holding.

Thohir is the founder of two charities, the education-oriented Darma Bakti Mahaka Foundation and Dompet Dhuafa Republika. In 2011, together with Anindya Bakrie he co-owned the television stations TVOne, as well as the internet news site Viva News. In 2014, he was involved in a turnaround project and became the President Director of ANTV.

In 2011 also, after negotiations with former basketball agent Jason Levien and managing owner Joshua Harris, Thohir became part of the consortia that bought the Philadelphia 76ers.

In addition to his business, he also owns the basketball team, Satria Muda, and serves as an honorary board member of the Indonesian Basketball Association from 2015 to 2019. He has been President of Southeast Asian Basketball Association since 2006.

In September 2013, Inter Milan chairman and owner Massimo Moratti confirmed that he was in discussions to sell a majority 70 percent stake in the club to Thohir. On Oct. 15, 2013 after a long negotiation, International Sports Capital HK Limited, led by Thohir (for 60 percent stake), Handy Soetedjo (20 percent) and Rosan Roeslani (20 percent), became the majority shareholder of Inter Milan.

While, Retired General Djoko Santoso who was born in Surakarta, Central Java on September 8,1952 is the military commander-in-chief from December 28, 2017 to September 28, 2010.  Previously, Djoko had been an Army chief of staff from February 18, 2005 to December 28, 2007. He started his carrier in the military as commander of a platoon. When he became high officer, he was appointed as Wassospol KAster TNI, Kasdam IV /Dipenogoro and Pangdivif 2 /Kostrad.

He started a shining career after he became the commander of Maluku ‘s military command and the Operation Commander of Security Recovery that succeeded to quel Maluku ‘s conflict. Between March 2003 to October 2003, he became commander of Jakarta military command.

After that, his career ran smoothly and became deputy chief of Army in 2003, Army chief of staff in 2005 and Indonesian military (TNI) commander-in-chief from 2007 to 2010.

Different Strategy

The fight between the campaign teams of the respective candidates, Erick Thohir (Jokowi-Maruf camp) and Djoko Santoso (Prabowo -Sandi camp ) is worth watching, due particularly to the fact that it will be pitting a seasoned business general and seasoned military general.

Capitalizing on their backgrounds and experiences, both will have their own advantages and disadvantages in applying their own different strategies to win the presidential election in 2019.

Erick Thohir will not only have a managerial function but also electoral function to draw the public support

for Jokowi-Ma’ruf. He also has a magnet to draw millennial voters. It means that Erick will not just function as a composer of Jokowi-Maruf orchestra, but also a vote-getter among young voters and upper middle class.

On the other side, Djoko Santoso with his military background, has a capability as war commander. Djoko Santoso has an ability to light up the spirit of #2019changethepresident among the public.

Djoko Santoso has a ” war ” function that the incumbent should not underestimate, as current situation is different from the situation on five years ago. The social division and an opportunity for the establishment of solid opposition cluster is stronger now. In this position, for Prabowo -Sandi team as opposition, the presidential election could be like “a war”. The army is trained to fight against enemies with superior weaponry system. From the perspective of strategy, Jokowi -Maruf Amin has a complete and superior political weaponry.

Using different tactic and strategy, Djoko Santoso is considered able to manage the situation. His style of communication and experience is fit in the position to light up the spirit of #2019changethepresident movement. But he has weakness in the part of drawing supports from millennial. His military background cannot match the communication of Y generation.

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