Paper Edition | Page: 1
Keep it clean: Governor Fauzi Bowo (left) tells a crowd on Thursday in Jakarta that there will be a “peaceful” campaign for the upcoming gubernatorial runoff. Also at the event were Fauzi’s running mate, Nachrowi Ramli, (center) and their electoral rival, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama (right), who is running on the ticket of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.(JP/P.J. Leo)
As the Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) staged a peace declaration for the candidates ahead of next week’s gubernatorial runoff poll at the National Monument in Central Jakarta on Thursday, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the running mate of leading contender Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, was subjected to racial and sectarian heckling.
The event, designed to set the tone for the campaign that has captivated the whole nation and is expected to serve as a prelude to the 2014 presidential election, was attended by a number of bigwigs including House of Representative Speaker Marzuki Alie, National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi and KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik.
Gamawan and Marzuki called on candidates to obey election rules and maintain civility during the campaign period. “We must not harm our developing democracy. We must stick to the rules,” Gamawan told both camps.
July 11 election top finisher Jokowi, however, was absent from the event, leaving the spotlight to his running mate Ahok and their rivals incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo and his running mate Nachrowi Ramli.
Ahok said Jokowi — the Mayor of Surakarta, Central Java — was still in his hometown and would take leave starting on Friday.
Both of the candidate pairs were given time at the podium.
Fauzi was welcomed by cheers from his supporters. Ahok, however, received boos and taunts — including “Jew” and “Chinese” from his rival’s supporters. Ahok was forced to pause frequently and speak louder.
Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, has been the target of a slew of racial and religious slurs in the run-up to the second-round election on Sept. 20.
However, both camps have been accused of employing dirty tactics using supporter groups, the media and the Internet.
On Wednesday, a business association was found by the Jakarta Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu Jakarta) to have violated electoral rules by paying to run pro- Jokowi television commercials outside the permitted campaign period.
The group — the Association of Indonesian Traditional Market Traders (APPSI) — is chaired by Prabowo Subianto, who is also the chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), which, along with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), is backing Jokowi.
The Jokowi camp also filed a report to the poll supervisor, claiming that Nachrowi uttered an ethnic slur on Monday, while civic groups reported the presence of vans adorned with Fauzi’s campaign messages in some parts of the city.
Last month, Jokowi supporter and legislator Dewi Ariyani was implicated in smear campaign allegations after she sent a text message suggesting that a recent spike in fire incidents was related to the upcoming poll.
Earlier, dangdut singer and Muslim preacher Rhoma Irama was also reported for delivering an allegedly derogatory and politically charged sermon during prayers at a mosque in West Jakarta. Both Dewi and Rhoma have been cleared of the allegations.
A survey by Kompas daily showed that Jokowi-Ahok are seen positively by a majority of voters from low-, middle- and upper-income levels (38 percent, 41 percent and 67 percent, respectively.)
Political analysts have said that Fauzi faces a tough race in the runoff, as it will be difficult for the incumbent to attract more votes from undecided voters.
More than 30 percent of voters are still undecided over who to vote for in the runoff, according to a survey released by the Center for Political Studies (Puskapol) under the University of Indonesia’s (UI) school of social and political sciences.
Fauzi, analysts said, faced a tough task in reclaiming the votes he lost to his five rivals in the first round of voting. Jokowi won the first round garnering 1,847,157 votes, or 42.6 percent of 4,336,486 valid votes cast in the election. Fauzi came second with 1,476,648, or 34.05 percent of the vote.
The campaign period for the runoff lasts until Sunday. Unlike the first round, the two candidates can now only hold campaign events indoors. Public debates between the candidates will be broadcast live on Jak TV and TVRI on Friday and on Metro TV and TVRI on Sunday.