On whether women, in this case Khofifah Indar Parawansa, are suitable for regional leadership positions.
On 28th March Suryadharma Ali of the Development Party, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) announced the candidacy of Khofifah Indar Parawansa for the East Java governor's election in July.
Khofifah Indar Parawansa.
Khofifah is the head of the womens' wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the Muslimat NU, and only recently joined the PPP, jumping ship from Gus Dur's PKB.
East Java is not the PPP's strongest area and they had been hoping to run a joint ticket with another Islamic party, the Justice Party, Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), in order to reach the 15% electoral threshold needed to compete, and give them a chance of victory, however slim, against the heavyweight parties of Golkar, PDI-P, and PKB.
However on the same day as the announcement PKS official Muhammad Siroj said the Syariah Council of the East Java branch of the Justice Party is reluctant to support a woman for the position of provincial governor.
The Syariah Council have already given their opinion [against it], the question of female leadership is one that results in differences of opinion among clerics.
Not only did the Syariah Council oppose it, he said, but also among the rank and file of the PKS, and the PPP he thought, there was a lot of opposition to Khofifah's candidacy, based on her sex.
When I put forward her name I got a lot of SMS messages from PKS members [opposing it].
Suryadharma Ali however said that in the PPP's view only the presidency was not suitable for a woman (presumably because she would then function as military Commander in Chief). In East Java there were already women regents, in Tuban and Banyuwangi (Ratna Ani Lestari), so there was no problem with a woman governor either, he said. gp-ansor