About two weeks ago (10th September), the Economist magazine’s headline was “The art of lie” reporting how politicians across the globe lie. This report seems very relevant with what is happening in Indonesia now: Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama-the Governor of Jakarta, the capital city, did the same thing.
At the beginning, Ahok said he would run as an independent candidate for the next Jakarta’s gubernatorial election in 2017. To realise it, he and his independent supporters organised a grass-root movement named “Teman Ahok” or “Friends of Ahok”. This movement successfully collected more than a million official IDs of Jakartans which is one of the requirements if he wants to run as an independent candidate.
However, since last few months some political parties, such as Golkar, Hanura and Nasdem Parties declared their interests to support Ahok in the next election. Indeed, these supports worried “Teman Ahok” because they expected Ahok stayed as an independent candidate as reported on Jakpost in July 21, 2016 and July 27, 2016. I personally do not surprise at all with this decision. Just to remind you, Ahok was a member of Golkar Party 2008-2012, as well as Gerindra Party 2012-2014. Then, Today (Wed. 21/09/2016) Ahok also got an official support from the current largest party-PDIP. In other words, now Ahok is supported by nearly half of Jakarta’s parliament seats (52 out of 106), he is officially not an independent candidate anymore.
This Jakarta’s election and also last presidential election has a key similarity: how our politics highly depends on a figure, not a system (i.e. political party). Politics is just like shopping: we (voters/shoppers) give our vote/money to a party/brand. You can choose whatever you want. If you dissatisfy, simply next time just don’t buy their products anymore and find the alternative.
In my point of view, the Indonesian politics is in an “Ahok-ism” era: a period when the majority of voters vote only based on a figure, regardless what party that the candidate belongs to or get supports from. This kind of politics is not sustainable because we, as voters/buyers, cannot punish the ruling parties if they are unable to deliver what they have promised or what we expected. If we don’t change our voting behaviour and fail to build the system (i.e. political parties), they (politicians) can easily lie to us and break their promises, again and again.