Jokowi, Jojo And Erap (Happy Birthday!)

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Much sooner than most of us know or are aware of, our neighbour, Indonesia (with a population of 250 million) will hold its National Elections for President and Vice President. These were preceded by Legislative (including the Lower House of Parliament) Elections last Wednesday, April 9, 2014. 186 million voters were eligible to vote for 230,000 candidates for 20,000 seats in National (560) and Regional or Local Legislatures (2,137 seats in 33 Provincial Assemblies {DPRD}: 17,560 seats in 497 District Assemblies.).

The most important of these three levels was the election for the 560 seats in the Lower House of the National Parliament (DPR). The results have to be tallied and completed by law within 30 days. Under Clause 9, Law 42 of 2008, only parties that won at least 20 % of the DPR seats or 25 % of the popular vote in the Legislative elections can nominate a candidate for President and VP. If a party failed to achieve these criteria, then it has to combine with another party or a combination of other parties if it wants to field a candidate (s). The nominations have to be completed within seven days of the above results.

The Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections will be held on July 9. The campaign will be in May and June. Then another two months of campaigning in June and July for the Run-off elections which will be held in September. The new President will take office on October 20. 2014, when the incumbent President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, steps down. The latter was elected in 2004 and 2009 in the first and second direct elections for President. He is barred from seeking a third term.

The main opposition party, the Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (Megawati Sukarnoputri), will nominate the Governor of Jakarta (since Oct 15, 2012; defeated the incumbent in the September 20, 2012 Run-off elections.), Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, age 52, born June 21, 1961, in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java. He was the Mayor there from July 28, 2005 to Oct 1, 2012.

In most of the Opinion Polls, Jokowi is now leading the race. His Party got the highest number of MP’s as well as popular votes. Both Suharto’s Golkar, the Gerindra Party and the Incumbent’s Democratic Party are trailing behind both in the polls as well as in the elections. Meanwhile five Islamic parties increase their combined total dramatically from 26 % in 2009 to the present 32 %.

Jokowi was educated in public schools in Surakarta at the Primary (Grade School) and Junior and Senior Secondary (High Schools) Levels. He took up Engineering at the Gadjah Mada University and graduated in 1985. He was a property and furniture businessman before he entered politics.

In both positions, as Mayor of Surakarta and as Governor of Jakarta, he adopted an interactive approach and relationship with his constituents. At the same time he adopted the development framework of European cities. He gained the trust of his constituents and was recognized for his achievements both at the National and International levels.

Jokowi reminds me of both President/Mayor Joseph “Erap” Marcelo Ejercito Estrada of Manila and the Philippines and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Mayor of Makati from 1986 to 1988 and 2001 to 2010. Jokowi became a Mayor at the age of 44 and a Governor at the age of 51.

Erap was born on April 19, 1937 in Tondo, Manila. He was elected Mayor of San Juan in 1967  (However, he was cheated and lost the elections but won an electoral protest and assumed office in 1969.) at 30, Senator in 1987 at 51, Vice President in 1992 at 55, President in 1998 at 61 and again Mayor of Manila in 2013 at 76.

Jojo was born on November 11, 1942 in Paco, Manila. He was appointed OIC Mayor of Makati in 1986 at 43. He was elected Mayor in 1988, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2004 and 2007. He was elected VP in 2010 at 67. In May 2016, he will be 73.

The three of them, Jokowi, Erap and Jojo share the same populist style. The big difference is that unlike Erap, neither Jokowi nor Jojo were actors or showbiz personalities before they became Mayors. The other difference is that Erap had to go through serving five years as a Senator before he ran for President and then slid down to Vice President in 1992.

The third difference is that undoubtedly, Jokowi as opposed to all the other strong candidates or candidates of the big parties, represents the new politics in Indonesia. On the other hand, will both Jojo and Erap be identified with the old politics in the Philippines? Or can they reinvent themselves into something new but proven. The difference between the Philippines and Indonesia is that the latter had a little taste of the new politics a decade and a half ago. The former has just had a big taste of the failed new politics in the incumbent President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

The question is whether the revulsion with Pork, Corruption and Plunder will make the majority of voters gamble with the new and the young again or will they choose to stay with the old but proven leaders. If the former becomes true, then we will have a myriad of possible – Grace Poe, Alan Peter Cayetano, Vilma Santos, Sonny Trillanes and maybe even Bongbong Marcos. If the latter remains true, then we will have Binay and Estrada to choose from. They will have Mar Roxas and Chiz Escudero and others to choose from.

Meanwhile, Erap will be celebrating his 77th Birthday this coming Sabado de Gloria. Meanwhile, he will have to think and ponder whether to retire in 2016 after one term as Mayor or go on and run again for President in 2016. Will he be forced to run and win at the National level to vindicate his family just as Dra. Loi and Jinggoy ran and won as Senators in 2001 and 2004 and served to vindicate Erap then. Happy Birthday!

 

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