Ahead of the
Jakarta gubernatorial election runoff, campaigns espousing hatred or support
based on gubernatorial candidates’ religious or ethnic backgrounds have
continued to arise despite a ban by the city's Election Supervisory Committee
campaigning is known by the acronym SARA from suku (ethnicity), agama
(religion), ras (race) and antargolongan (intergroup relations).
banners were found stating “Tionghua
(Chinese descent) and Christians are proud to support gubernatorial candidate
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Basuki Tjahaja Purnama”. The banners were found in a
number of areas in North and West Jakarta.
known is Ahok, is a Christian of Chinese descent, and a former regent in his
home province, the Bangka
these banners, Jokowi campaign team spokesman Denny Iskandar said he
deplored the banners and was clueless as to who had erected them.
only divide the nation’s unity,” he said.
read “Choose only leaders who share the same faith [as you]” were also found in
other areas of the capital. An organization called Garda Api allegedly erected
the banners to direct Jakartans to vote for the incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo,
according to Panwaslu.
chief Ramdansyah told The Jakarta Post
Digital that as of Wednesday afternoon, his members had taken down the
banners. He said his members found them mostly in North
has also reported violations of election rules to the Jakarta General
Election Commission (KPUD Jakarta), Ramdansyah said, adding the candidates,
Jokowi and Fauzi, had also received the letters.
SARA campaigning against
the gubernatorial candidates has been more visible in the last couple of weeks
ahead of the scheduled runoff on Sept. 20.
denigrating Basuki for his Chinese heritage and Christian faith have widely
circulated on Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger.
using ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds is common in political contests
and elections, political analyst Yunarto Wijaya of Charta Politika said.
“Even Obama was
attacked for his racial background during the US 2008 election,” Yunarto said.
He said voters should
question both allegations of smear campaigning and also claims of the "victims"
of such campaigns, adding that a candidate might benefit from public sympathy
for the perceived victim.
He said a
regulation disqualifying a candidate if proven guilty of conducting SARA
campaigns was urgently needed.
election committee bans smear campaigning in regulation no. 69/2009 which prohibits
candidates making statements attacking other candidates’ ethnic, religious or
racial backgrounds. However, the regulation does not require that a candidate
be disqualified if proven to have engaged in such electioneering. (riz)