Indonesian presidential election: When 9 July comes

He may not be a philosopher-king, but when 9 July comes I’ll vote for Jokowi. It’s not that I blindly adore him and got carried away by all of the PR-engineered hype of him, but because to me he’s a better option than the other candidate: a coalition of hardliners led by 3 psychopaths.

Let me explain what I meant by psychopaths. Psychopathy is defined as “a personality disorder characterised by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behaviour”, and each one of the main individuals in Prabowo’s camp, with their own problems, show these tendencies. First there’s Prabowo himself, an alleged human rights violator with mafia-esque short temper. Then there’s Hatta Rajasa as his VP, who’s involved in oil mafia (one of the biggest corruption acts in the fuel-subsidised country) and Aburizal Bakrie, who’s responsible for Lapindo mudflow disaster and who has a bad reputation in business, including that famous case where he duped Nat Rothschild.

Behind them lies 3 Muslim hardliner parties, where PPP’s chief Suryadharma Ali is involved in Hajj fund corruption scandal, PKS (a Wahhabi hardliner) is guilty of beef import corruption scandal that made beef prices expensive in Indonesia, and PAN with godfather Amien “poros tengah” Rais arguably the most backstabbing politician in the republic. Speaking of hardliners, the religious thugs FPI and “former” Jakarta gangster Hercules also declares their support for Prabowo, with the latter even runs Prabowo’s campaign operations on the street levels together with other network of gangsters. It seems that all the crooks and the thugs somehow found each others in this coalition.

Furthermore, Prabowo’s coalition is fundamentally based on money politics and political contract that ensures ministerial and province-level jobs are distributed among the parties (with Golkar party reportedly will get 7 ministerial positions). This is the same kind of disaster occurring right now in the incumbent Yudhoyono’s cabinet, where the majority of ministerial positions are not filled by professionals but rather controlled by coalition party members, which as a result our internet is among the slowest in the world and our once mighty sports national teams now’s a joke, to name just two cases out of many. And FYI the absolute majority of Yudhoyono’s current coalition members are all in Prabowo camp, with Jokowi’s PDI-P serves as an opposition party.

By contrast, Jokowi promises that if he gets elected all of the ministerial positions will be filled by professionals only (though some degree of ministerial post distribution among his coalition partners is still highly expected). Moreover, I like the people in his campaign team, with the likes of Anies Baswedan (an education reformer) and Alwi Shihab (a brilliant ex minister). His coalition’s economic plans is also more realistic compared with the unrealistically ambitious plan by Prabowo’s coalition who will increase the country’s debt-to-GDP level from around 28% right now to 50% to pay for all of their plans, but then at the same time vow to pay-off all of Indonesia’s debts (down to 0% of debt-to-GDP) by 2019, exactly the time his potential 1st term would have ended.

Moreover, Jokowi’s nomination of Jusuf Kalla (JK) as his running mate helps, just look at the incumbent Yudhoyono’s presidency when JK was his VP: his 1st term was highlighted with great reforms, swift decisions and conflict solutions; which granted Yudhoyono with high approval ratings and re-election. But then he dumped JK as his no 2, and his 2nd term has since regarded as a national joke with all the religious violence, damn slow decisions and the worse bunch of ministers.

Just like the way Jokowi runs his governorship of Jakarta – where his no 2 man Basuki Tjahaja Purnama runs the city while Jokowi tours around and meet the people (the well-known “blusukan” style) – as far as I’m concern Jokowi can do blusukan for 5 years if he needs to, while JK and the professional ministers run the country.

Indeed, if we’re talking solely about the individual, I have doubts with Jokowi. His rise to power was too damn quick: he hasn’t finished his term as the mayor of Solo before PDI-P party endorse him to run for Jakarta governorship, and he’s only 1 1/2 years on the job as Jakarta’s governor before PDI-P took his momentum and hype and endorse him as a presidential candidate. He may be fresh and idealistic but he hasn’t really been tested yet, he might be out of depths in high politics, while it is still remains unknown how big of an influence the grande dame Megawati has over her alleged puppet. And of course, Jokowi is not that clean either. Behind him, just like behind Prabowo, still lies the interests of “rent-seeking” businessmen, 3 of whom even allegedly pay for all of Jokowi’s top notch PR campaign.

Nevertheless, when 9 July election day comes the choice is pretty obvious for me: voting for Jokowi is indeed a gamble, but I’d rather vote for a coalition of a puppet backed by professionals than a coalition led by 3 psychopaths backed by troubled hardliners.