Starting from 7:00 am local Jakarta time on Wednesday (15/02), the capital city of Indonesia is voting for their next governor. There are more than 13,000 polling places spread across Jakarta to accommodate the 7.1 million eligible voters. Although actually in more than 100 provinces, cities and districts the regional heads are being elected today, most attention goes to Jakarta where ethnic and religious tensions are high due to the participation of incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as Ahok), a Christian, ethnic Chinese politician who is being prosecuted for blasphemy.
This time Jakarta's gubernatorial election is a crucial one, as it tests the level of pluralism and religious tolerance in the country as well as the government's stance toward anti-pluralistic sentiment and toward religious intolerance in case hardline Islamic groups will protest or cause other trouble when preliminary results today show that "their enemy", Ahok, is leading the race. Considering Ahok is leading in most opinion polls, there are risks of seeing unrest in the capital city today. However, considering it will most likely require a second round to determine the winner of the gubernatorial election, the second round may be more vulnerable to unrest.
Although the quick count results will be released later today (these quick counts are usually reliable), it will take three weeks before the official result of Jakarta's gubernatorial election is released. In case no one wins a majority of the votes in this round, then a second round is scheduled for 19 April 2017, in which the two leading pairs of the first round will compete.
Below we mention important developments that occur today, including the quick count results. This section will be updated regularly over the next 24 hours.
Live Quick Count Results Released on Indonesian TV Channels (>99% of votes counted)
- Lingkaran Survei Indonesia
- Saiful Mujani R&C
- Polmark Indonesia
- Charta Politika
- Indo Barometer
Source: various sources
Updates (last update 15:30 am local Jakarta time, Wed. 15 February 2017)
• Hundreds of money politics cases have been reported to the police across the country over the past couple of days. In these cases money or (food) products are distributed to voters in order to attract their support.
• The General Elections Commission (KPU) disallows the release of any quick count results before 3:00 pm (15/02) to avoid any possible influence of these results on voters. However, all Indonesian TV channels are releasing live quick counts.
• Ahok and Anies Baswedan are leading the preliminary quick count results (see above) but neither seems to have a dominating lead and therefore chances of a second round are becoming bigger.
• Although on second position in all preliminary quick count results, Anies Baswedan should be content to see a limited (less than 5 percent) margin between him and Ahok. We expect that most of Agus Yudhoyono-voters in the 1st round will vote for Anies Baswedan in the second round.
There are three people who compete for the position of Jakarta governor:
(1) Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok)
In the Muslim-majority nation (particularly in Muslim-majority cities or provinces) it is a sensitive issue when a non-Muslim becomes leader. The stricter Muslim communities reject this based on Islamic doctrine. Moreover, Ahok is on trial for blasphemy. This case is based on the surfacing of a manipulated video on social media in which Ahok is seen expressing language that is insulting for Muslims. Although Ahok's speech in this video was manipulated, the case went to court after several massive demonstrations in Jakarta last year, showing the influence of the hardline Islamic forces that organized these demonstrations. It is also assumed there are political motives behind this blasphemy case ahead of the gubernatorial election.
Ahok is regarded an ally of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and is backed by the country's ruling party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Similar to Widodo, Ahok is a popular politician among the educated circles because of his reform-mindedness, non-corruptness, and swift action.
(2) Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono
Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono is the oldest son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Agus made a very sudden move by retiring from the military at age 38 and enter the nation's politics to run for the Jakarta governorship. He can rely on the backing of his father's Democratic Party (PD) as well as the Islamic parties: United Development Party (PPP), National Awakening Party (PKB), and National Mandate Party (PAN).
(3) Anies Rasyid Baswedan
Anies Rasyid Baswedan is the former Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture (2014-2016) and in this election backed by the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). In his campaign he pledged to focus on improving Jakarta's public education and combating the rising costs of living.