Editorial: Final scrutiny
Paper Edition | Page: 6
The coming week will be decisive for the 9.6 million citizens of Jakarta as they ponder who they will entrust with leading the metropolis for the next five years.
Surakarta mayor, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and incumbent governor, Fauzi Bowo, will square off in the election runoff scheduled for Sept. 20 after finishing first and second respectively in the July 11 poll.
Just for the record, Jokowi and his running mate Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaya Purnama won 1,847,157 votes or 42.6 percent of the valid vote in the first round. While this outcome caught many by surprise, it was not enough for them to avoid a runoff against Fauzi and his running mate Nachrowi Ramli whose team secured 1,476,648 votes or 34.05 percent.
With the last two pairs standing kicking off a three-day election campaign today, Jakarta voters will once again have an opportunity to scrutinize the candidates. At the same time the two pairs will make full use of the short period to convince their supporters and woo both those who did not vote for them in the first round and the thousands of others who skipped the July ballot altogether.
In general, the media have done enough to educate voters through their reports about the candidates for the electorate to able to choose the better of the two pairs. The media have helped voters to observe the candidates more closely now than two months ago. The span of two months has enabled voters to dig deeper into the candidates’ track records, capability, integrity and sincerity.
Being incumbent regional leaders, both Jokowi and Fauzi have always been under the media spotlight, paving the way for voters to assess their performances and their delivery of promises.
As a big city, Jakarta undoubtedly needs a strong leader and problem-solver who can not only identify and address its myriad problems but also realize government programs and policies in a smooth, effective and proper manner.
Fauzi holds the advantage of having experience in leading the capital city with all its complex problems, especially traffic gridlock, flooding, economic disparity, sanitation woes, pollution and security threats. But as the first round has shown, Jokowi’s popularity has attracted people who long for change.
The three-day election campaign looks to be more than enough for voters to conduct their final scrutiny of the candidates.
Under the Jakarta General Election Commission’s regulations, the candidates are prohibited from organizing street rallies or displaying posters and banners. They are only allowed to deliver their campaign messages through the mass media, indoor gatherings attended by not more than 250 people and visits to crowded areas such as markets, etc.
The poll body will also provide the candidates with an opportunity to appear in a televised public debate. Although frequently in the past public debates have failed to live up to expectations — perhaps because of the long-held social norm that inhibits one from criticizing others in public — the occasion is necessary to encourage people to vote based on common sense.
So, Jokowi and Fauzi, the floor is now yours.