Sjafrie popular but electability still low: Observer

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Retired army lieutenant general Sjafrie Syamsoeddin enjoys the popularity and has the capability to run for Jakarta governor but his winnability factor remains low, an observer said here on Saturday.

"Sjafrie is quite popular because of his position as Jakarta military commander during the reform movement. He was also the Deputy Minister of Defense during the government of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However his electability and acceptability remain low," the executive director of Lintas Nusantara Survey Institute, Emrus Sihombing, said.

He explained that his position as a former commander of the Jakarta Military Command during the reform movement could prove to be an adverse factor in gaining acceptability since Jakarta was in chaos during his military leadership.

Sihombing, however, pointed out that he still had time to improve his electability.

"Considering that politics is fluid and dynamic, he still has time to increase his electability. Moreover, voters in Jakarta are rational," he reiterated.

To underline his statement, Sihombing referred to the case of Joko Widodo who was able to beat incumbent Fauzi Bowo in the 2012 Jakarta governors election despite various survey results that favored Bowo.

He underlined that Sjafrie will have to have a top class strategy to become more acceptable and compete with incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok).

During a fast-breaking gathering at his residence on July 5, Sjafrie had expressed his readiness to run for Jakarta governorship if he received support from the Gerindra Party-led coalition. The election is scheduled for February next year.

Ahok remains at the top as far the winnability factor was concerned.

Many figures have emerged to challenge Ahok though no particular name seems a definitive challenger as of now.

The Indonesia Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) with 28 seats in the Jakarta Legislative Assembly (DPRD) is the only party that can nominate its own candidate since it has the minimum of 21 seats required in the DPRD. Other parties, including Gerindra that has only 15 seats, have to form a coalition to fulfill this requirement.

Till date, the PDIP has not announced its final candidate although it has zeroed in on many potential figures.

Ahok, on the other hand, has also not yet decided whether he would run independently or on a political party platform.(*)