Editorial: And the winner is...
Paper Edition | Page: 4
Jakartans will most likely continue the remarkable behavior and attitude of Indonesian voters since the country’s first democratic general election in decades in 1999 — the second since independence in 1945 — by acting as responsible, mature and peaceful voters in today’s (Thursday, Sept. 20) gubernatorial runoff. Failure to continue this tradition will be very damaging not just for Jakarta, but for the whole nation.
Jakarta’s voters are deciding between the status quo — granting a second term to Governor Fauzi “Foke” Bowo and running mate Nachrowi Ramli — and taking a gamble on change, by giving their votes to Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his partner Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
There is palpable tension in the air ahead of the final round of our second direct gubernatorial election. In the first round in August, no candidate took the minimum 50 percent + 1 vote. Issues of religion — Islam verus Christianity — and ethnicity — Betawi vs Javanese and Chinese — have been among the most provocative topics in these weeks before the runoff. In a democracy, such differences are normal, as long there is no intimidation or coercion to vote for a certain candidate.
So voters, please follow your conscience. Remember the saying vox populi vox Dei (The voice of people is the voice of God). You are totally free to determine the direction this city takes over the next five years, and your voice is precious. Give your vote to whoever deserves your trust.
Whatever the voters’ judgement, as long as the election is democratic and fair, residents of the city have an obligation to accept the result. Naturally there will be excitement for supporters of the winner and big disappointments for those who stood by the loser. But everyone must honor the final result.
Jakartans will only humiliate themselves in face of their compatriots in other parts of the country, if today is marred by the undemocratic and irresponsible acts of those who cannot accept defeat. There are mechanisms for protests and no one need take the law into their own hands. Both losers and winners must act as statesmen.
This evening, the preliminary result will be known and we will learn, more or less, who will lead this city until 2017.
Whoever the winner shall be, Foke or Jokowi, you must stick to this basic principle: you are the leader both of those who voted for you and of those who were against you. You need to prove that you deserved the people’s vote, by not engaging in cheating, as is so often the case in national and local elections.
Again the question is: For whom should you vote? The answer is simple but fundamental: follow your conscience. Go to the polling station, excercise your constitutional right and avoid any regret in the future. Be a responsible citizen of our beloved city.