Prabowo Subianto - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The opposition camp is considering to recruit popular preacher Abdul Somad to secure votes of the Indonesian Muslim community, which shapes more than 90 percent of the country’s population, in next year’s presidential election.

Opposition leader Gerindra Party has also included Somad’s name in the list of potential candidates to run with chief patron Prabowo Subianto. Somad’s name has been endorsed by Islamic- group National Movement to Safeguard Cleric Edict, also known as GNPF-Ulama.

In addition to Somad, the group has also nominated Salim Segaf al-Jufri, the chief patron of Gerindra’s longtime partner the Keadilan Sejahtera Party.

Pak Prabowo will thoroughly consider the [GNPF-Ulama’s] proposal,” Gerindra’s secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said on Tuesday (31/07).

“However, Pak Prabowo and Gerindra will consult with other leading clerics including those from the Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah [Indonesia’s two largest Islamic organizations] before making a decision,” he said further.

Subianto was scheduled to meet Somad to discuss on the latter’s future involvement in his camp but was cancelled as the popular young preacher was out of town for personal business. Gerindra plans to re-schedule the meeting later this week.

Besides obtaining the supports of the country’s clerics, Subianto need to secure a consensus from his future allies, including the Demokrat Party and Amanat Nasional Party, as all have intended to nominate their respective executive member to be Subianto’s running mate.

While the Demokrat has said to nominate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the eldest son of the party’s chief patron, to secure the VP slot,Amanat Nasional intends to propose chairman Zulkifli Hasan for the position.

Will opposition Welcome Demokrat?

The fate of the Demokrat Party’s intention to join the opposition camp hangs in balance despite a number of negotiation meetings chief patron Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has held to convince decision makers from opposition coalition.

Subianto gathered elites of longtime partner Keadilan Sejahtera and ally-to-be Amanat Nasional Party at the luxurious house of business tycoon Maher Algadri in South Jakarta on Tuesday evening (31/07) to discuss on Demokrat’s proposal.

The closed door meeting, which run to almost four hours, brought together decision makers in the camp, including Keadilan Sejahtera’ chairman Sohibul Iman, Amanat Nasional’s chief Zulkifli Hasan aslo founder and controversial figure Amien Rais.

“[…] Tonight, we have decided that to send our secretary generals to meet Demokrat’s to talk about technicalities,” Subianto told the press after the meeting.

It seemed that the Tuesday closed-door meeting focused on whether or not the opposition camp needed to actually welcome Demokrat as an additional member, excluding the vice presidential slot subject.

“We did not talk about the vice presidential candidate,” Keadilan Sejahtera’ Iman said when asked if the meeting also put the subject on the table for discussion.

None of the opposition camp leaders, including Prabowo, responded when reporters asked the reason to the meeting venue.

Widodo Sets Campaign Team

While the opposition camp is still jostling around the future of the coalition, President Joko Widodo’s has set a strategic team of campaign, ready to contest next year’s presidential race.

Last night, he gathered the secretary generals of all political parties that have endorsed his second term ticket at the Bogor Palace to discuss on strategies to further promote the works of his administration as well as necessary programs to launch to win eligible voters.

“[…] We have set up a special team to work on strategies to campaign Pak Jokowi’s vision and mission,” secretary general of ruling Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan Party Hasto Kristiyanto told a press briefing after the meeting.

He added that the meeting also kicked off the discussion on detailed plan to ensure Widodo’s victory in the upcoming battle in order to allow him continue the programs of his government.

Besides Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuangan, political parties that supported Jokowi’s current administration include the Golkar Party, the Kebangkitan Bangsa Party, the Persatuan Pembangunan Party, the Hanura Party and the NasDem Party, in addition to three newcomers in Indonesia’s politics have also named Widodo a presidential candidate including the Perindo Party, the Solidaritas Indonesia Party and the Keadilan and Persatuan Indonesia Party.

The newly established strategic team will also serve as a “Jokowi center” which will also prepare all legislative candidates to also campaign for Jokowi in the legislative election that will take place simultaneously with the presidential race.

Legislative candidates would be trained how to respond to critics against Pak Jokowi, said NasDem secretary-general Jhonny G Plate. He cited the critic on inequality gap that was said to have increased during Jokowi’s leadership as an example.

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