Jakarta is the political and economic center of Indonesia and that makes the position of Governor of Jakarta more important compared to the position of governor in any other province. Current President Joko Widodo managed to be in the media's spotlights continuously after becoming Jakarta Governor in 2012 (a position he left ahead of his successful run for president in 2014) and therefore a Jakarta Governor can generated attention and popularity, matters that are required to make the next career move (after all, the Widodo presidency is evidence that it is not only the traditional political and religious elite or army leaders anymore who can become president of Indonesia).

When Widodo stepped down as Jakarta Governor in 2014 to become president, his running mate (Deputy Governor) Ahok automatically replaced Widodo. This was a sensitive issue (in the stricter Islamic communities) because Ahok is a Christian and ethnic Chinese. Demonstrations were staged by protesters who claimed a Muslim-majority population cannot be led by a non-Muslim. However, these demonstrations were in vain.

Ahok's style of rule somewhat resembles the style of Widodo: swift action, not afraid to implement unpopular reforms or changes (that can burden part of the population but benefit society as a whole), an emphasis on direct communication with the local population, and no indications of any corrupt behavior. Many of Jakarta's middle class and elite in Indonesia actually support Ahok, including (nominal) Muslims, because of his style. However, as mentioned above, he also triggers outrage among the stricter Islamic communities in - and outside - Jakarta.

In October 2016 a video suddenly surfaced on social media in which Ahok insulted Islam (in a speech he delivered on an island off the coast of Jakarta). Although this was a heavily edited video, seemingly deliberately manipulated to make it seem as if Ahok insulted Islam, the video was a great source for Ahok's opponents to attack him. Three demonstrations were staged in Jakarta between October and early December in which protesters urged the government to arrest Ahok for blasphemy.

Not much later, amid high pressures, the National Police Criminal Investigation Department charged Ahok with articles 156 on harassment and 156a on blasphemy in the Indonesian Criminal Code. It is assumed that Jakarta Police and the Attorney General Office went ahead with Ahok's investigation and trial in an effort to keep matters calm in the capital of Indonesia. If these institutions would ignore the case, then it could have caused a much higher degree of unrest on the streets of Jakarta and other Indonesian cities compared to unrest that followed a massive demonstration on 4 November 2016. Ahok's blasphemy trial is still ongoing today and a verdict is expected in March 2017, about a month after the voting day for the Jakarta 2017 gubernatorial election.

Schedule Jakarta's Gubernatorial Election 2017:

Date Information
3 - 7 August 2016 submission of the requirements for individual candidates
19 - 21 September 2016 registration of the candidates
19 Sept. - 9 Oct. 2016 verification of candidates
22 October 2016 determination of candidates
23 October 2016 draw (for the number that is appointed to the candidates)
26 Oct. - 11 Feb. 2017 campaign period and public debates
12 - 14 February 2017 rest period, no campaigning allowed
15 February 2017 election day (voting and counting of votes)
16 February 2017 vote recapitulation
8 - 10 March 2017 the winner is announced (if obtained majority of votes)
19 April 2017 voting day if a second round is required

Source: KPU

The Candidates in Jakarta's 2017 Gubernatorial Election

Under local regulations, only those political parties (or coalitions of parties) that control at least 22 seats in the regional parliament (DPRD) can put forward a candidate for Jakarta's gubernatorial election. In the 2017 edition there are three candidates. The winner of the election needs an absolute majority. If no-one obtains an absolute majority in the first round, then a second round will be organized in which the two winners of the first round will compete each other. The one who collects most votes in the second round will govern Jakarta for the next five years.

Despite the trial Ahok continued his efforts to be elected the new Jakarta Governor, together with his running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat. This pair is supported by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), People's Conscience Party (Hanura), Golkar, and the Nasdem party. Together these parties control 52 seats (or 49.1 percent) in the DPRD.

The second candidate is Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, son of former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). Yudhoyono's candidacy for the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election was a surprise as he had never been involved in politics but, instead, had pursued a career in the military. He is joined by running mate Sylviana Murni, a lady who spent most of her life working as an onffical in the local government of Jakarta. The pair is supported by the Democratic Party (PD), United Development Party (PPP), National Awakening Party (PKB), and National Mandate Party (PAN). The last three parties (PPP, PKB, and PAN) emphasis the need for a larger role of Islam in Indonesia. Together, the four parties control 28 seats (26.4 percent) in the DPRD.

The third candidate is Anies Rasyid Baswedan, former Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture (2014-2016). He is joined by running mate Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, one of Indonesia's richest men having co-founded Saratoga Capital and Recapital Advisors. The pair is backed by the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Together, both parties control 26 seats (24.5 percent) in the DPRD.


helen firmanto |

Is there a possibility of voting on line, as I will be leaving Indonesia first thing on the 15th morning.
Awaiting your response soon.

Misja Alexander |

I'm pretty sure you need to go to the ballot box to vote (and not an online one), bringing your KTP and KK. The registration process (which allows you to join the voting) was done online though...