Prabowo, heading unstoppable towards victory

Hersubeno Arief
Media and Political Consultant

IO – Heading towards the seventh day of the open campaign on Saturday (30/3), we can already guess who will win the 2019 Presidential Elections. If things continue like this for the next two weeks, we can be sure that nothing will stop Prabowo-Sandi. As predicted by Kompas Daily’s R & D, the open meetings are the tie-breaker. The militancy of Prabowo-Sandi supporters is much stronger in all indicators. The flooding of campaign masses in all sites attended by Prabowo-Sandi and the dullness of the Jokowi-Ma’ruf campaign is starkly there for anyone to see. In Dumai, Riau, the organizers were forced to call in masses from different regions to make it seem that Jokowi’s campaigns are crowded. There are many indications that the attending masses are not supporters Presidential Candidate Pair 01 – such as the fact that the campaign sites are filled with buses with license plates from outside the region.

Once, when Jokowi and his wife took selfies, many of the crowds performed the two-fingered salute below. A young man even dared to hop on stage and performed the two-fingered salute right in Jokowi’s face, as shown in a photo published in the local news website, where the young man in a white shirt and red cap was clearly seen making the pose. Members of the Presidential Guard (Pasukan Pengaman Presiden – “Paspampres”) were shown trying to stop and secure him, while Jokowi and his wife Iriana continued taking their selfie.

The photo was widely circulated in social media with the caption “Foto terkeren abad ini!” (“Coolest pic of the century!”). Oddly, not a single national medium bothered to report this news. After extensive search, we found that the picture was also published in, another local website. The picture in this local website even show others also striking the two-fingered pose right in front of Jokowi and Iriana.

Vice-Presidential Candidate Ma’ruf Amin, as has been predicted earlier, has even more trouble attracting supporting masses. On Thursday (28/3), when Jokowi was openly campaigning in East Kalimantan and West Sulawesi, Ma’ruf visited three pesantren boarding schools in Yogyakarta, Bantul and Sleman. This is odd, if not to suspicious, to say the least. After all, pesantrens are places of education, and it is not allowed to use them as campaign spots. Ma’ruf only attended an open campaign at Lumbung Rejo Square, Sleman, that night.

Published photos show that the campaign in Sleman was sparsely attended. Ma’ruf received a tepid welcome when he attended a campaign at the Jakabaring Sport City (JSC) Dining Hall, Palembang on Friday (29/3). Local news website reported that in order to create a crowd for Ma’ruf’s campaign, the organizer brought in thousands of santri boarders from outside of Palembang. National Campaign Team (Tim Kampanye Nasional – “TKN”) Chairman Erick Thohir was also present to ensure that the event went smoothly and cheerfully.

A different phenomenon is seen in all Prabowo-Sandi campaigns. Regions that are identified as not being the basis of Prabowo supporters as well as those identified as his supporting base all share the same ambience: a cheer, warm welcome everywhere. In Manado, Makassar, all the way to Merauke in Papua, Prabowo was welcomed with a lot of cheers. Sandiaga, who campaigned in Sorong, West Papua, was received with the same warm welcome, even though in the 2014 Presidential Election these regions were part of Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla’s voters’ belt. Imagine how it goes in Bandung, which is well-known as a Prabowo stronghold. When he held a campaign at Sidolig Square, Prabowo went down with his full team. All high officials from his supporting parties were present, including Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who represented his father, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). In Bogor Regency, the masses continued to gather despite the prohibition on using the Pakansari Stadium. They were so enthusiastic that they endured the heat that bore down on them in the Stadium’s parking area.

These two starkly different scenes show the cruel difference between a mobilized mass and a participative mass. A mobilized mass only comes out when it is promised a reward. They are not militant, and even counter-productive as what happened in Dumai. These flexible people are not real voters either. On the contrary, participative masses are highly militant. They would come to an event without being paid, at their own expense, and might even go so far as add to the campaign funds unasked. In Bogor, Prabowo could not help being so touched because a number of migrant workers pooled their meager earnings in order to contribute Rp 200 million to him.

The same phenomenon is also observable in social media. The Emprit Drone chat analysis engine has repeatedly shown the same analysis result: most of Presidential Candidate Pair 01 supporters’ accounts are bot accounts used to generate comments, while most Presidential Candidate Pair 02 supporters’ accounts are real accounts. Bots can only create a social media sensation, but they cannot vote.

Do Not Be Provoked
The solidity and sheer number of masses supporting Prabowo-Sandi is naturally worrisome to the incumbent. If this is left alone, their victory is only a matter of time. Various means of provocation were used, starting from grassroots level to opinion-directing in the media. In a video, two old ladies who support Presidential Candidate Pair 02 were provoked by several supporters of Presidential Candidate Pair 01, until finally push literally came to shove and everyone cursed vilely. This video seems to be distributed solely to provoke anger.

Coordinating Minister of Maritim Affairs Luhut Panjaitan made the statement that some people would like to replace our Pancasila ideology through the 2019 Presidential Elections. Former National Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara – “BIN”) Hendropriyono went even stronger than that: he stated that the 2019 Presidential Elections will not be a battle of Jokowi-Ma’ruf against Prabowo-Sandi, but a battle between those who approve of Pancasila against those who desire a Khilafah Government. The appearance of a senior general of Hendropriyono out of his hideout means that the condition is critical, so bad that he had to get down to the field and save Jokowi. Unfortunately, they defended him using underhanded means – by making use of a sensitive issue that might divide the nation, i.e. of religion.

In view of the situation, former Armed Forces Commander, General (Ret.) Gatot Nurmantyo, felt that he also must do something. The Tweet on @gatot_nurmatyo account on Friday (29/3) stated: “Do not forget history and do not let ourselves be divided by those hungry for power!” Gatot also uploaded an old news clipping containing a statement of Great General Abdul Haris Nasution when he was the Chairman of the Temporary People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Sementara – “MPRS”) in 1960’s: “Isu tentang Negara Islam: Gerpol PKI/Orla Setjara Menipu Mempertentangkan Pantjasila and Islam” (“The Issue Concerning an Islamic Nation: The Political Movement of the Indonesian Communist Party/Old Order that Falsely Contradicts Pancasila with Islam”). In this way, General Gatot Nurmantyo subtly responded to Hendropriyono’s statement by indirectly saying that the issue of an Islamic Khilafah etc. in Indonesia is caused by the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia – “PKI”). We must be careful not to be divided so easily, not to forget history. #PKIvsPANCASILA

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Despite naming no names, it’s obvious whom Gatot’s Tweet was addressed to. Since he was active as the Commander of the Army, Gatot has been strongly expressing himself about the latent dangers of the PKI. He has also instructed that all Army Posts throughout Indonesia watch together the docudrama film Pengkhianatan G-30S/PKI (“The Treachery of the September 20th Movement of the Indonesian Communist Party”) every year on 30 September. Gatot was right: history teaches us that PKI has attempted to take over power by inciting the people, especially through religion.

The Presidential Election is a democratic event, a contest between the best sons and daughters of the nation. It is a contest and arena of ideas for finding the best way to champion the welfare of the people. It is not a place for ideological war, let alone physical war.

The people should not be provoked. We all should not allow ourselves to get baited, to get gaslit and fall into the trap of rioting. If the nation’s children fight with each other, chaos ensues, we all will lose everything. The Government has the authority to determine if the State is in a state of emergency, from civil emergency to military emergency. All stages of the Election will be delayed. The democracy that we have worked so hard to build will regress, taken over by the power-hungry groups that Gatot Nurmantyo mentioned. They would do whatever it takes to maintain their power forever.