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Ready to poll: The Jati Pulo subdistrict election committee and residents of Tomang Pulo near the West Flood Canal in West Jakarta erect a polling station in advance of the Sept. 20 runoff. (JP/P.J. Leo)
A number of groups have accused incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo of abusing his power to gain an edge in Thursday’s gubernatorial runoff.
The Indonesia Budget Center (IBC) said Tuesday they were planning to report alleged misuse of social aid funds and financial grants to a number of organizations and institutions by the city administration.
“We are going to file reports to the Election Supervisory Body [Bawaslu] and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK],” IBC executive director Arif Nur Alam said.
In one of its investigations, the IBC found that there was a total of Rp 17.14 billion (US$1.8 million) of aid and grants disbursed to 21 institutions and organizations that supported Fauzi in the campaign and whose chairs or members donated to Fauzi’s camp or hold positions on his campaign team.
According to the watchdog group, the administration allocated Rp 1.4 trillion for grants and social aid in 2012, a significant increase from Rp 924 billion in 2011 and Rp 482 billion in 2010.
Separately on Tuesday, the Jakarta Teachers Forum (FMGJ) reported that members of educational institutions, including teachers, administration staff, students and parents, had been instructed to vote for a certain gubernatorial candidate through unethical means including intimidation.
FMGJ chairwoman Retno Listyarti said that some headmasters were asked by the City Education Agency to use their schools’ funds to make banners thanking to Fauzi for the free 12-year compulsory education program, which was launched just a few days after the July election.
The association also reported that a number of principals, under the agency’s instruction, gave transportation allowances between Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 to teachers living in the outskirts of Jakarta to come to polling stations and cast their votes for the incumbent.
Abdullah Dahlan, a political corruption researcher at ICW, said the reported incidents might constitute an abuse of power by the incumbent.
“It is clearly stated in the 2004 Regional Administration Law that an election candidate is forbidden from using government facilities and budgets for campaigning purposes as well as places of worship and educational institutions,” he said.
“Moreover, the city officials are forbidden from making decisions and do something beneficial or detrimental for a candidate during campaigning period,” Abdullah said, adding that the teachers and ICW would file a report with the Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu).
The runoff will be a bout between Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Wi-dodo, who won the most votes in the first-round of the election, and incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo.
Surveys predict that Jokowi will likely win the runoff though by a small margin over his opponent. The latest survey, released on Tuesday by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI), showed that Jokowi and his running mate, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, were favored by 45.1 percent of 440 respondents, while 44.6 percent chose Fauzi and his mate Nachrowi Ramli.
In the past few weeks, supporters of both candidates have engaged in mudslinging campaigns. Tensions along racial and religious lines have run high in the first gubernatorial election since the 1998 anti-Chinese riots in Jakarta to involve a Christian of Chinese descent — Jokowi’s running mate Ahok.
Fauzi was reported on Tuesday to have visited a number of places of worship, representing the six state-recognized religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Golkar Party national representative Zulkifli S. Ekomei issued a statement on Tuesday calling for a halt of the election process in fear of escalating tensions. “Regardless of who the winner is, it could ignite a conflict,” Zulkifli said, suggesting the government to appoint a governor instead.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed concerns that the tight competition could lead to social conflict and even violent acts.
“I have paid attention to the Jakarta election although the government will not take the practical politics side. I have noticed that the competition is very hard and the race is tight,” Yudhoyono said before Cabinet members in a meeting at the State Palace on Sunday.
“I call on both candidates to commit to help maintaining peace and security in the capital, including the pre-election period, during the election and the post-election phases,” the President added.
Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said that the use of ethnic and religious issues to discredit certain candidates would not work. “Racial and religious slurs usually become subject to negative responses. Do not become easily provoked by such issues to engage in brawls and violence,” he said after the meeting.
Djoko also reiterated the obligations of police and military members to avoid siding with any of the candidates. “Security authorities must be neutral. Ignore any campaign teams who approach for your support,” the minister said. (han)