Did Indonesia’s president say he may pick a jailed politician as his running mate in 2019 elections? Unfounded

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on July 30, 2018 at 11:00
  • 1 min read
  • By AFP Indonesia
An online report claimed Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he may choose jailed former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama -- known as Ahok -- to be his running mate in 2019 elections. Widodo’s spokesman denied he made the comment and no mainstream media reported this announcement, which was purportedly made at a political event that other journalists widely covered.

A July 16 article in beritanewsupdate.pw carried a headline that translates into English as: “Finally Jokowi has confirmed three figures for vice presidential candidates. Jokowi: if Ahok is free, maybe I will choose him.”

Widodo is widely known as Jokowi.

The article quotes Jokowi as saying that: “If Ahok is released from prison maybe I will choose him”.

Ahok -- who was deputy governor under Jokowi from 2012 to 2014 -- was jailed after a court ruled that comments he made as governor insulted Islam.

Jokowi is expected to run again for president in next year's election, and there is intense interest on who will be his running mate.

The unfouned article about Ahok has been shared on Facebook by at least 22 pages or groups, according to Crowdtangle data.

Snapshot of the Crowdtangle data

Presidential spokesman Johan Budi told AFP that Jokowi did not say he might choose Ahok as his running mate.

“The president has never made any statements like that,” Budi said.

The fact-checked article said Jokowi made the comments at a July 16 event held by the NasDem party, which backs his re-election.

A wide range of major media outlets reported on Jokowi's comments at the NasDem party event. Those outlets said Jokowi announced several potential running mates, but Ahok was not among them.

Among the major media outlets to report on Jokowi’s comments at the event were the Jakarta Post and Tempo.

The beritanewsupdate.pw website recently published a false report saying Ahok had been released on parole from his initial two-year blasphemy sentence, which AFP has debunked.

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