The schedule of South Sulawesi regional head election is still few months ahead. But political atmosphere among candidates has raised tension in local mass media. For the past few months, the topic of Gubernatorial election has been under their spotlight. Two main media in Makassar, Fajar and Tribun Timur, always put the news as their headlines.
So far, two kings of politics for South Sulawesi region have stated their readiness to compete in upcoming regional election. Syahrul Yasin Limpo (SYL) and Ilham Arief Sirajuddin (IAS). SYL is the current governor of South Sulawesi and IAS is the current mayor of Makassar municipality. SYL is regional chairman of Golkar Party, the biggest party in the country, and IAS is the regional chairman of Democrat Party, the ruling party in the country, also the regional head of mass organization-turned politics, Surya Paloh’s Nasional Democrat (Nasdem).
It is obviously too premature to predict who will win the game. Since politics is not mathematics, It is difficult to assess who is more superior than others. These two prominent figures have the same chances and opportunities to be the next king of South Sulawesi. It is up to South Sulawesi citizens’ political choices to vote for either a new governor or an old ‘Komandan’.
Based on analysis expressed by some political experts in some media in Makassar, there are some aspects that we can draw to assess the political power of each candidate.
• Political Position and popularity; It is undeniable that political position is always in line with popularity. In my opinion, both SYL and IAS have the same power in term of this criteria.
• Incumbent factor; SYL’s position as an incumbent (the current Governor) has a significant role in leading him to be superior. According to Syarief Hidayat, a researcher of Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), an incumbent always has big chance to win an election. It is because of his large network and relation to prominent businessmen that will back-up his campaign in the next election. (Fajar, 01/02). But remember, IAS also, as a mayor of one of the biggest cities in Indonesia, precisely has a larger network as SYL.
• Running mate choices ; the figure of the second person as running mate in election is very crucial. For this criteria, IAS is a step ahead against SYL. The popularity of Aziz Qahar Muzakar (AQM) has been celebrated. AQM is the current member of Regional Representative Council (DPD) representing South Sulawesi in Senayan Jakarta. He is well-known for having loyal-fanatic- grass root supporters. For this reason, IAS is in advantageous position to beat SYL. On the other hand, SYL is still confused in choosing who is the best person to accompany him as his deputy in upcoming election. Few names are raised, including M Roem (the chairman of DPRD Sul-Sel), Rudyaanto Assapa (the regional chairman of Gerindra Sul-Sel) and Ashabul Kahfi (the regional chairman of PAN) but none is chosen. Seeing this condition, SYL is in dilemma.
However, there are many other things that we can consider to compare the power of these two figures including their tribes, Makasarese and Bugenese. But one thing in politics, it is a grey area. It can’t be calculated as it is. Whom you will vote for, let your conscience answer it.