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Jakarta Post

Blasphemy trial a blessing in disguise for Ahok: Pollster

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 11, 2017   /  04:23 pm
Blasphemy trial a blessing in disguise for Ahok: Pollster Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama attends a hearing held by the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday. (Kumparan/ POOL/Aditia Noviansyah/ via JP)

The director of Jakarta-based polling company Populi Center, Usep S. Ahyar, says he believes the ongoing blasphemy trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama may boost the incumbent's electability.

"As the trial continues, people can get more of an understanding about this case, which can benefit the incumbent. As an example, people can see that witnesses against Ahok are less competent," Usep told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

Usep added that, according to a recent survey initiated by the Populi Center, Ahok had his loyal voters who are rational enough to see behind this blasphemy case. 

They would keep voting for Ahok, despite the blasphemy accusation, because they were satisfied with his performance as governor. Usep released its latest survey, conducted in mid-December, which said that 34.2 percent of 600 respondents would vote for Ahok and his running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat in the election. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Sylviana Murni followed the incumbent with 32.3 percent support and Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno with 25 percent, he said. 

(Read also: Ahok's lawyers criticize witness' background, noting him as Agus supporter)

Usep also noted that Ahok and his team had wisely used the trial to increase his electability.

"The court can be seen as a 'free political stage' and Ahok has creatively used it. As an example, Ahok held a press conference while the trial was closed to media so he could deny all the rumors that discredited him," he said.


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