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As many had speculated, incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo finally managed to nab support in the gubernatorial runoff from the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), despite intensive lobbying from his opponent, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, of the party.
PKS chairman Lutfi Hasan Ishaaq said on Saturday his party had decided to follow the steps of other coalition parties, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Golkar Party, to back Fauzi because of his program and performance during his tenure as a governor the last five years.
He also cited the similarity between Fauzi’s vision and mission with the party’s losing candidate at the first round of voting, Hidayat Nur Wahid’s, as another reason behind PKS’ decision.
“We have talked with both candidates but unfortunately, Jokowi failed to show up when we invited him for a follow-up from our meeting last Sunday,” Lutfi said in a press conference. “Therefore, we couldn’t synchronize his program, vision and mission with Hidayat’s.”
The PPP was the first party that lost on July 11 election to back a candidate in the runoff, endorsing Fauzi last Thursday. PPP chairman Suryadharma Ali said the incumbent’s experience shaped the party’s decision. Golkar followed suit last Sunday, citing the same reason as PPP.
In the first round, Fauzi and his running mate, Nachrowi Ramli, were backed by the Democratic Party, the largest faction on the City Council, which holds 32 of the 94 seats.
PKS’ announcement means Jokowi is only supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which has 11 council seats, and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), which has six seats, both were the original parties backing him in the first round.
Many political analysts deem the support from PKS, known for its strong political base in the capital, as crucial at the second runoff, seeing how both candidates were only separated by 8 percent of votes in the first round.
In the July 11 election, Jokowi received 1,847,157 votes or 42.6 percent of the vote. Fauzi finished in second place with 1,476,648 votes or 34.05 percent of the vote.
Unlike other regions, the capital city requires candidates to secure more than 50 percent of the vote to win the election.
In the 2007 Jakarta gubernatorial election, despite being supported only by PKS, Adang Daradjatun and his running mate Dani Anwar, managed to gain 42.13 percent of total votes compared to the 57.8 percent collected by the pair of Fauzi Bowo–Prijanto, who was backed by a coalition of 20 parties, with some of them being major political parties.
Besides its strong foothold, the party also has some of the most loyal supporters in Jakarta, according to University of Indonesia (UI) sociologist Hamdi Muluk.
“There are only two parties who have strong bonds with their supporters — PKS and PDI-P,” he said.
According to a recent internal survey done by PKS, 80 percent of Jakartans who voted for the party at the 2009 election also voted for Hidayat, who secured almost 12 percent of votes at the first round,
despite being backed solely by PKS.
Hamdi, meanwhile, said a more deciding factor at the runoff would be the bandwagon effect, where voters with not enough references would conform to the majority, who voted for Jokowi at the first round.
“Couple that with the votes from independent candidates’ voters, who are much more likely to vote for Jokowi, as the newbie, then he stands a great chance to win at the runoff,” he said.
A political observer from the UI, Maswadi Rauf said Fauzi might have leverage over Jokowi due to the support of the parties behind him.
“This support will have a psychological effect on people, especially the 36 percent of registered voters who did not vote at the first round, pushing them to vote for Fauzi,” he said. (han)