Jakarta prepares for quiet after peaceful campaign
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Jakartans have bid farewell to an enjoyable political atmosphere, as the campaigning period for the upcoming gubernatorial election has officially ended.
On Saturday, citizens flocked to the Velodrome sports complex and Gelora Bung Karno stadium where University of Indonesia (UI) economist Faisal Basri and South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin conducted their respective massive outdoor gatherings.
Starting on Sunday, Jakarta enters a three-day quiet period, during which none of the six pairs competing for the capital’s top posts are allowed to conduct campaign-related activities. The candidates must also remove their promotional tools, such as banners and posters, which have been on display across the city during their campaigns.
“We will enter the quiet period tomorrow. When we go home, let us all remove our banners, flags and other promotional items so that we can use them again for the second round of the election!” Faisal told his supporters at the Velodrome in Pulomas, East Jakarta on Saturday.
Despite the scorching heat, around 3,000 people flocked the sports complex to support Faisal, who is running with local figure, Biem Benjamin. Several supporters interviewed by The Jakarta Post said they had not been paid any money from Faisal’s campaign team in order to attend the event.
“We honestly feel surprised with this number of people, because we have been committed to not giving out money as an incentive for people to come here,” said Azwar Zulkarnaen, the head of media relations for Faisal-Biem’s campaign team.
Meanwhile, Alex’s gathering at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium was attended by almost twice the number of Faisal’s supporters.
During his entrance onto the stage, Alex was greeted by youths performing the so-called “shuffle dance” with uptempo music playing in the background. To entertain the supporters, Alex’s campaign team had also invited many prominent musicians, including rock bands J-Rocks and Godbless, pop band Wali and dangdut singers Thomas Djorghi and Julia Perez.
Alex, who picked former chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) Nono Sampono as his running mate, provided two music stages for the supporters, and reiterated his commitment that he would solve the capital’s traffic and flood problems within three years if he was elected governor.
“We are ready to step down [if our campaign promises are not fulfilled],” Alex said, to which his supporters responded with loud cheers.
In contrast to Faisal’s supporters, however, some of Alex’s supporters told the Post they had been paid Rp 20,000 - Rp 30,000 (US$2.12-$3.18) by his campaign team for their presence at the event.
The Jakarta branch of the General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) praised the candidates for conducting peaceful campaigns throughout the campaign period.
“This year’s campaign activities have been more enjoyable for Jakartans as there were fewer convoys and mass gatherings causing traffic jams,” the commission’s head of campaign affairs, Suhartono, told the Post on Saturday.
Jakarta’s citizens will be casting their votes on July 11, with approximately 6.9 million voters expected to turn out. (sat/yps)