Two President and VP Candidates for 2019 General Election - Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The step of incumbent Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin stumbled by a corruption case that ensnared some of his supporting party officials. Otherwise, the contender allegedly issued hoax news before the presidential election.

After arrested chairman of the Persatuan Pembanguan party Romahurmuziy, the anti-graft body last month, high-ranking Golkar Party official Bowo Sidik Pangarso detained and began to reveal the involvement of other officials such as Nusron Wahid, the main spokesman for the incumbent’ national winning team.

Romahurmuziy allegedly received a bribe of Rp300 million related to the selection of positions within the Ministry of Religion in 2018-2019. A number of officials in this ministry were also being questioned, even the names of the Minister of Religion were reported to be called too.

As chairman of the party, Romahurmuziy was very close to Widodo especially after joining the incumbent support coalition in the 2019 presidential election. He also held an important position as the steering committee in the incumbent national winning team.

The Romahurmuziy case has not yet finished, it is the turn of the troubled Golkar party. At the end of March, Golkar politician Pangarso was arrested and made a suspect in a case of alleged bribery between PT Pupuk Indonesia and PT Humpuss Transportasi Kimia.

He reportedly received a bribe of Rp8 billion (US$567,376), which was received in stages. Interestingly, the money was alleged by the anti-graft commission to launch the ‘dawn attack’ on the voting day because it had already been in the Rp50,000 and Rp20,000 denominations that had been put into thousands of envelopes.

Interestingly, after undergoing an investigation on Tuesday (04/9), Pangarso claimed he was told by Golkar officials Nusron Wahid, spokesman for the incumbent winning team. Even though Wahid himself directly denied the accusation, Pangarso acknowledged that the anti-graft commission was the initial clue to investigate the involvement of Wahid.

A number of corruption cases are directly proportional to the decreasing electability of incumbents ahead of voting. At the end of 2018, entering early 2019, the electability of incumbents is still in the range of 50-55 percent in a number of survey institutions, leading 20 percent of the opposition who get 30-35 percent of the vote.

The electability of incumbents continues to decline along with various national situations, one of which is the corruption case that befell the supporting parties and winning teams.

Kompas photographed Widodo-Amin’s significant decline in electability in late March. The agency also noted the difference between the two candidates was around 11.8 percent with incumbents gaining 49.2 percent compared to 37.4 percent belonging to the opposition.

While the Kompas survey five months earlier still recorded the difference between the two still within 19.9 percent with incumbents leading 52.6 percent, opposition with 32.7 percent.

The decline was increasingly sharp in the Vox Populi survey conducted from March 18 to April 1. Incumbents led thin at 48.8 percent versus 43.3 percent of the opposition. The difference between them is only 5.5 percent.

Even the internal opposition survey released two days ago showed the superiority of Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno at 62 percent compared to 38 percent belonging to incumbents.

Similar results were taken from a survey of Pusat Kajian Kebijakan dan Pembangunan Strategis which called opposition electability at 47.59 percent compared to 45.37 belonging to incumbents. The winning difference is predicted to be only 2.14 percent.

Even, the survey of Precision Public Policy Polling from the United States showed Subianto – Uno pair to win the presidential election, with an electability 55 percent and JWidodo – Amin by 39 percent.

Mass Mobilization

The potential for opposition to win the presidential election began to appear with the presence of thousands of mass who packed the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta last Sunday. The presence of thousands of people is a challenge for incumbents who will hold grand campaigns in the same place this week.

Even the opposition has challenged the incumbent to be able to bring the same number of masses. The contender has smelled an attempt to mass mobilize employees of state-owned companies to join the incumbent’s grand campaign on Saturday.

“There is a rumor on the mobilization of state companies employees to the campaign, they are allegedly forced to attend there,” opposition campaign team’ spokesman Andre Rosiade told reporters in Jakarta, on Monday (04/08).

According to him, based on the information he received, the presence of employees will be recorded and those who are absent will get severe sanction. The mobilization is allegedly carried out to vie with the opposition’ campaign last Sunday, he added.

Additionally, he went on, his side heard about the distribution of staple food program in the stadium area that coincides with the launching event of the e-payment service platform, LinkAja. The fintech product is initiated by the partnership of state enterprises.

Thus, he demanded Minister of State-owned Enterprises Rini Soemarno clarify the issue in public and reminded the minister to refrain from using her authority for the interest of practical politics. He further demanded the General Election Commission and the Election Watch to investigate the information and take actions if the issue proved to be true.

The Election Watch is also still awaited by the Advokat Cinta Tanah Air (ACTA) for the continuation of the case against the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, for allegedly carrying out money politics and a number of other election violations.

ACTA reported Pandjaitan after a video showing him giving an envelope to a cleric in Madura, East Java last week. Even though he acts as a state official who has not submitted a leave letter to be able to campaign for one of the candidates.

The commission is currently still searching for evidence and gathering witnesses for the incident. After the examination of witnesses, the minister will be summoned and will be processed for 14 days.

“At present, we have examined a number of witnesses in the case of alleged money politics carried out by Pandjaitan. If necessary, we will call him to be asked for clarification,” commission‘ member Rahmat Bagja told reporters on Wednesday (04/10).

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com

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