The victory of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his Chinese-Christian running mate, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, in the gubernatorial runoff, is, if anything, proof that Jakartans have overcome polarizing sentiments.
The capital saw a generally smooth and peaceful election day on Thursday, despite weeks of negative campaigning and racial insults since the first round of voting on July 11.
Jakartans were apparently more eager to vote in the runoff, with pollsters saying that an average of 65 percent of 6.9 million registered voters cast their ballots on Thursday, up from 63.7 percent in July.
The Jakarta Police also reported no substantial incidents during the runoff.
All was quiet, for example, in Tanah Tinggi in Johar Baru, Central Jakarta — one area previously identified as a potential hot spot due to repeated brawling.
“There’s no trouble here. Everything’s fine,” one local resident, Veronica, said while watching officials count ballots at polling station (TPS) 13 in Tanah Tinggi.
Meanwhile on Jl. Kebun Jeruk III in Hayam Wuruk, Central Jakarta, lines of voters were seen waiting to exercise the franchise. Some even stayed until the vote counting process began later in
Enthusiastic voters were also seen lining up at their local TPS in Sawah Besar, Central Jakarta,
“I have shown my support for this city. Whoever wins, I hope they can make Jakarta safe,” Chandra Kurniawan, a local resident, said.
A similar mood was evident in Kelapa Gading Timur, North Jakarta, where most registered voters are Chinese-Indonesian, like Ahok.
One voter, Yulius said that she was excited to vote, as it was her obligation as a law-abiding citizen.
“I felt that it was necessary to exercise my right to vote,” the 60-year-old woman said.
As the runoff neared, messages circulated on social media websites and BlackBerry Messenger that riots might erupt targeting Chinese-Indonesians, as last happened in Jakarta in 1998.
Burhanuddin Muhtadi, a political analyst from the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI), said voters had not been swayed by threats of riots based on race and religion.
“The way voters viewed the incumbent’s performance and their evaluation of Governor Fauzi Bowo were stronger factors in driving them to the polls,” Burhanuddin said at the LSI offices in Menteng, Central Jakarta.
According to the quick counts compiled by several pollsters, Jokowi won from 53 to 57 percent of vote, while Fauzi garnered between 42 and 46 percent of the vote.
Jokowi finished first in July, receiving 1.85 million, or 42.6 percent of the 4.3 million votes cast, while Fauzi came in second with 1,48 million votes. As neither campaign secured a majority, Joko and Fauzi advanced to the runoff.
Burhanuddin said that voters who backed Jokowi were disappointed with Fauzi. “If he wins, Jokowi will not have much time to enjoy his victory. He has to get to work and show results quickly.”
Jokowi faced a tough crowd, Burhanuddin said, given the capital’s well-educated and relatively well-to-do middle class. “A large middle-class population is a source of political instability. Jokowi will face this if he wins,” he said.
One disabled voter said that election officials had corrected some shortcomings on Thursday that hindered his ability to vote in July.
“I could read the Braille ballot faster simply because there were only two candidates. In the first round, there were six candidates, so I had to read it carefully,” Roziin Fakih, 44, a blind resident of Cawang, East Jakarta, said.
However, Roziin said that his local election committee (KPPS) still blundered on Thursday. “An officer immediately accompanied me without asking if I had brought someone that I had trusted to accompany me.”
Election law stipulates that polling stations must facilitate disabled voters at the ballot box. Officers at the regional committee are required to tell disabled voters that they can choose to be accompanied by a companion of their choice or by a member from the committee. (han/riz)
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