The Second Version

08/10/12

Jakarta's Elections

Why, you wonder, I'd want to talk about Indonesian politics?

Strange, but I just feel like it.

The latest election to Governor of the Province of Jakarta (DKI, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta - Jakarta Capital City Special Area) was won by the couple Joko Widodo (Jokowi) - Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok)* against the incumbent Fauzi Bowo (Foke) - Nachrowi Ramli.

Jokowi is a sort of newcomer even if he belongs to a political party tracing back to the Sukarno times. However, he came from a businessman background while Foke has been a political activist since his university years - in the Golkar party which instead dates back to Suharto.

The electoral campaign saw some very dirty moments, mostly between first and second round**, with the only argument against Jokowi - Ahok being that Jakartans should be ruled by Jakartans and Muslims by Muslims. Especially the second part is a nonsense because Jokowi is Muslim; only is running mate is of Chinese descent and a Protestant.

But that wasn't enough and Jokowi won by a significant majority across all areas of Jakarta (except the Thousand Islands1) and across all religions - with an enormous majority among Protestants and a thin one among Muslims.

Jokowi comes from a story of considerable success as Major of Surakarta (or Solo) in Central Java; while Foke is seen as a failure regarding the improvement of the horrendous situation of road congestion in Jakarta and other parts of his program.

Probaly, Indonesian people are also fed up with the level of corruption among high-ranking officers2 and preferred a fresh face and approach to a 100% establishment man.

Jokowi's policies would be seen as socialist by some, especially Americans, but one must keep in mind that being poor in America means not being able to afford organic vegetables in a posh store and aircon in the house; being poor in Jakarta means living in a rickety bamboo shed perched on the banks of a filthy river with no sanitation nor running water.

But in the end only time will tell if Jakartans have chosen well. For the time being, Jokowi started well obtaining the city government to slash the budget for his inauguration ceremony.


*For all positions from Head of Village to President of the Republic, there is a head and a deputy.

**No candidate won an absolute majority in the first round so a runoff was held, for reasons I do not know, a couple of months after the first round.

1-Kepulauan Seribu, literally Archipelago of a Thousand Islands.

2-While still practicing it at a low level.

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