Money talks as campaign season begins
Election banners and flyers were visible in many parts of the capital as the campaign period for the city’s second direct gubernatorial election kicked off on Sunday.
With six pairs of candidates vying to lead the capital, some residents are eager to take to the streets and join the campaign rallies to support their favorites — with or without getting paid.
Fitriani, a 24-year-old volunteer for Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahja Purnama from Johar Baru, Central Jakarta, said she was excited about the campaign events even though she did not know much about the election itself.
She and hundreds of others gathered and prayed for the candidates’ victory at the National Monument before marching to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
The volunteers distributed pamphlets, stickers and newsletters along the way.
Fitriani admitted that she attended the rally partly for the money she had been promised. “They said there was accommodation money of Rp 50,000 (US$5.25) but I haven’t got it yet,” she said, adding that her friends had arranged to participate in another campaign rally on Tuesday.
Jokowi-Ahok campaign treasurer Prasetyo Edi Marsudi said that his team had not allocated funds to pay volunteers, let alone to pay them for attending rallies. He said, “Our volunteers are many and we only control the official ones.”
Other residents said they would skip the campaign rallies and hoped that the campaign period would pass peacefully.
Purdiyanto, 52, a resident of Rawa Belong, West Jakarta, said he was too busy with work to attend campaign speeches and that street campaigns were not to his liking.
“During campaigns, some candidates often try to improve their image by giving money to voters.”
Vote-buying is believed to be common during elections, and poll watchdogs are calling on Jakartans not to vote for candidates who offer them money.
Officials from the Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) and hundreds of activists from several civil society organizations, including the Elections and Democracy Organization (Perludem), the Independent Elections Monitoring Committee (KIPP), Indonesia Corruption Watch and the
national coordinator of election watchdog the People’s Voter Education Association (JPRR), held a declaration ceremony on the anti-vote-buying campaign in Jakarta on Sunday morning.
Under the tag line, “Jangan ambil uangnya, jangan pilih uangnya” (don’t take the money, don’t elect the candidate), they encouraged Jakartans to be more aware of vote-buying tactics.
Wahyu Dinata from KIPP said that the declaration was to make people aware of the various forms of vote-buying. “Campaign teams are getting smarter. Vote-buying can happen in the form of a communal screening, a door prize or even pay for volunteers,” he said.
Nearly seven million Jakartans are eligible to vote in the July 11 gubernatorial election.