Incumbent leads gov race
in coal-rich E. Kalimantan

Incumbent East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak and his running mate Mukmin Faisyal are set to win Tuesday’s gubernatorial election after winning the most votes, according to quick counts conducted by two surveys.

The Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) said the No. 1 pair garnered 42.49 percent of support of some 2.79 million eligible voters who cast their ballots at 8,802 polling stations.

Awang and Mukmin, the latter being the speaker of the East Kalimantan Legislative Council (DPRD), received support from 10 political parties: the Golkar Party, the Democratic Party (PD), the People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Patriot Party, the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS), the National Democratic Party (PDK), the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Coming in second were independents and No. 3 pair Imdaad Hamid and Ipong Muchlissoni with 36.73 percent. Imdaad was Balikpapan mayor from 2001 to 2011, while Ipong is a businessman.

The No. 2 pair — incumbent vice governor Farid Wadjdy and DPRD deputy speaker Aji Sofyan Alex — supported by the United Development Party (PPP) and the Indonesian Party of Struggle (PDI-P), received 20.78 percent.

The results were based on 98.33 percent of samples taken by LSI.

Awang had the most votes in the newly created North Kalimantan province but still took part in the East Kalimantan gubernatorial race.

In the North Kalimantan provincial capital of Bulungan, Awang-Mukmin received 50.90 percent of the vote followed by Imdaad-Ipong with 32.22 percent and Farid-Sofyan who garnered 15.88 percent.

In Nunukan regency, also part of the new province, Awang received even higher support at 65.21 percent at the expense of Imdaad (20.56 percent) and Farid (13.94 percent).

In East Kalimantan’s largest cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, the votes were split.

Independent candidate Imdaad received 54.05 percent of the vote in Balikpapan. Awang was second with 32.11 percent while Farid received 13.83 percent.

In Samarinda, the provincial seat of East Kalimantan, the race was tight with incumbent Awang securing 39.30 percent while Imdad garnered 31.20 percent and Farid received 29.30 percent.

“We have won the election according to the quick count,” Awang said commenting on the results.

“We will continue to develop East Kalimantan including the hinterland and border areas and we will prioritize the education and health sectors.

Another surveyor, Indobarometer, also recorded Awang and Mukmin as winners with 44.88 percent followed by Imdaad (33.99 percent) and Farid (21.12 percent).

Some 20 percent of voters were absent in the gubernatorial race.

Political observer Sarosa Hamungpranoto predicted the quick count results would not deviate too much from the official results to be announced by the East Kalimantan General Elections Commission (KPUD) in one week.

He said there was an interesting development where independents Imdaad and Hamid could receive the second most votes, bettering Farid and Sofyan.

“This is an interesting phenomenon because political parties no longer play the dominant role. The public now judges based on the candidates personalities,” he said.

Sarosa said Imdaad and Ipong received huge support because the public wanted a change.

“The relatively high absenteeism is also an indicator that the people want a change,” he said.

He said Imdaad led the election in Balikpapan because he was known as a successful mayor while his running mate Ipong was from the younger generation as well as being the richest candidate in the race.

“The pair’s program to offer between Rp 1-5 billion per village is also interesting,” Sarosao said.

“There’s still questions on how the funds will be disbursed and what supervision mechanism is taken,” he added.

East Kalimantan is the country’s largest coal and gas producer.

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