Fauzi opens mouth, inserts foot
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Fauzi Bowo (JP/P.J Leo)
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo — who raised hackles by telling women in the city to not wear sexy clothing to avoid being raped — has made another gaffe that could hurt his reelection chances in the Sept. 20 runoff.
Speaking to residents who lost their homes in a fire on Monday, Fauzi told them to rebuild their houses in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, if they planned to vote for his rival in the runoff, incumbent Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
The Fauzi camp spun the off-the-cuff remark as a joke. However, the video, shot by local reporters, was uploaded to YouTube and went viral on Thursday — much to his chagrin.
In the video, Fauzi addressed those left homeless by a fire in Karet Tengsin, Central Jakarta, which destroyed 405 homes and 200 kiosks on Monday.
“Who will you vote for?” Fauzi asked the residents. “If you vote for Jokowi, you’d better [re]build in Solo.”
“Of course, you, Mr. Mustache,” responded one resident.
In the first round of voting in Jakarta on July 11, Jokowi won a plurality in almost every subdistrict of the city, including Karet Tengsin, where 3,801 of 9,947 voters backed Jokowi, versus 3,477 for Fauzi.
Fauzi declined to discuss his remarks, saying that what he had said “was only a part of an inspection during a visit to my citizens who were hit by a disaster”.
Meanwhile, Ramdansyah, the chief of the local branch of the official Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu), said that Fauzi’s statements about Jokowi did not violate election regulations.
“Candidates or their campaign teams may deliver a political statement outside the campaign period, as long as they do not ask the public to vote for them and explain their vision and mission at the same time,” Ramdansyah told reporters.
Yunarto Wijaya, a political analyst from Charta Politika, however, disagreed with that assessment, saying Fauzi’s remarks might constitute political campaigning.
If anything, Yunarto said, the remarks showed a troubling lack of empathy. “Those residents just suffered a tragedy. People can easily be influenced during a tragedy.”
Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) chairwoman Dahlia Umar also apparently disagreed, and has called for an investigation.
Yusfitriadi, the coordinator of the People’s Voter Education Network (JPRR) said Fauzi would find
the gaffe costly. “[Fauzi] lost the first round election because he had communication problems. He has an issue with building his public image.” (han)