JAKARTA (AFP) – The incoming governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta has quit the party of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto over its support for a controversial bid to scrap local direct elections.
Prabowo has failed in several attempts to challenge his loss to Jakarta governor Joko Widodo in the July poll, and his mission to end direct elections of mayors and governors is seen as a way to stop those outside the political elite from quickly rising through the ranks, as Widodo did.
Jakarta deputy governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who will take over the reins when Widodo is sworn in as president next month, announced late Wednesday he had quit the Gerindra party over the bid, which is being deliberated in parliament.
He is the highest-profile member to leave the party following Prabowo’s loss.
“Leaders chosen by local parliaments rather than the people will be more likely to serve their party’s interests and not the interests of the people,” said the deputy governor, who is widely liked for his firm approach to cleaning up Jakarta’s tangled administration.
In this file photo taken on July 23, 2014 shows Jakarta vice governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (L) with Indonesian president-elect Jakarta governor Joko Widodo at city hall in Jakarta. Purnama, popularly known by his nickname Ahok, the incoming governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sept 10 quit the party of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto over its support for a controversial bid to scrap local direct elections – AFP
“My party supports this bill, which goes against my conscience, so yes, I’ve stepped down because I cannot be a good party member,” he said.
The bill has gained support in parliament, where Prabowo’s six-party coalition holds around three-quarters of the seats, and has gained traction as parliament’s term draws to a close at the month’s end.