Jakarta`s voters demonstrate democratic maturity

Hoax, black campaign materials, and money politics were reported during the election process, but luckily, no physical violence occurred.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Political tensions rode high during campaigning for the second round of Jakartas gubernatorial election (pilkada) in which Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) and Djarot Saiful Hidayat (Ahok-Djarot) paired against Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno (Anies-Sandi).

Jakarta residents were divided and had heated arguments on social media regarding their candidates. Hoax, black campaign materials, and money politics were reported during the election process, but luckily, no physical violence occurred.

On the contrary, during the polling day on Apr 19, Jakarta was peaceful, and the election was held smoothly and democratically.

According to the results of quick counts conducted by several pollsters, Anies-Sandi won the election against Ahok-Djarot.

The Jakarta General Election Commission (KPU) uploaded the results on its official website, showing 42.05 percent, or 2,351,245 votes, for the Ahok-Djarot pair, and 57.95 percent, or 3,240,332 votes, for the Anies-Sandi pair.

The number of Jakartans who voted reached 5,591,198.

A total of 64,523 joint police, military, and other security personnel were mobilized to maintain security during the election.

The National KPU has lauded the Jakarta KPU for successfully holding a peaceful pilkada.

"Earlier, several observers had expressed concerns over the media that the Jakarta pilkada had the potential to become violent," Wahyu Setiawan, a commissioner of KPU, stated recently.

However, owing to the maturity of Jakartas residents, the recently concluded pilkada was peaceful, smooth, and democratic.

"This will become a social asset for us to organize the next simultaneous pilkada in 2018 and the presidential and legislative elections in 2019," he noted.

The social asset is precious, as it concerns the publics trust, he emphasized.

The capability of the Jakarta KPU to provide the results of the pilkada also gained the publics trust, he remarked.

On Thursday, Apr 20, the Jakarta KPU had published the results on its official website.

The results are real, although it is not official, as the Jakarta KPU is still in the process of manual counting.

The runoff was held after no candidate pair managed to gain a majority in the first round of the Jakarta pilkada held on Feb 15, which was contested by three candidate pairs.

The three candidate pairs that took part in the election were Agus Harimurti-Sylviana Murni (Agus-Sylviana), Ahok-Djarot, and Anies-Sandi.

In the first round of the election, Agus-Sylviana received 17.07 percent, or 937,955 votes; Ahok-Djarot received 42.99 percent, or 2,364,577 votes; and Anies-Sandi received 39.95 percent, or 2,197,333 votes.

The results of the second round of the election showed that the votes for Ahok-Djarot remained the same as the first round, at some 42 percent, while the Anies-Sandi pairs votes increased from around 39 percent to 57 percent.

The victory of Anies-Sandi was due to digital volunteers who were successful in influencing the younger generation in the pilkada in Jakarta, Siti Zuhro, a senior researcher of the Political Study Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, pointed out.

"They have managed to present an attractive campaign package that was able to motivate netizens who are mostly young people," she had noted in a press statement on Apr 23.

She cited Anies-Sandis digital volunteers as an example of a success story.

The digital volunteers promoted Sandi as an energetic, sporting, stylish, and creative candidate during the pilkada campaign period, she pointed out.

Social media users tend to support a young candidate who offers to bring about a change, she remarked.

The public was no longer interested in a conventional approach that used black campaign to discredit rival candidates, she affirmed.

Sharing Zuhros views, Anthony Leong, a coordinator of digital volunteers, remarked that social media played a crucial role in bringing victory to Anies-Sandi.

Social media was able to deliver in-depth information to the public, he emphasized.

He, however, cited bullying, hoax, and black campaign being spread, as challenges on the social media.

Meanwhile, Sukamta, secretary of the Prosperous Justice Party faction, has said that the Jakarta pilkada reflected the political maturity of the capital citys residents.

"Congratulations to the residents of Jakarta who have managed to help realize a peaceful and safe pilkada. Congratulations to Jakarta for having a new governor," Sukamta stated.

Jakartas gubernatorial election was extraordinary, as it had drawn the attention of both Indonesian and international communities, he remarked.

The election has caught significant attention, as Ahok was standing trial in a blasphemy case on charges of insulting the Islamic Holy Book of Al Quran.

"(I am) grateful that everything is under control. I hope Anies-Sandi would reunite Jakartas residents, who were divided, for Jakartas better future," he noted.

He, however, warned the government of rampant circulation of hoax information on social media, and it has, so far, seemed helpless.

In 2018, pilkada will be held in 171 regions simultaneously. If the government fails to anticipate the spread of fake information or news, pilkada could have a brutal outcome and threaten the nations unity, he pointed out.

"While we still have time, the government should issue regulations and policies to prevent the spread of hoax information," he affirmed.

Mahyudin, another politician from the Golkar Party, said that the peaceful pilkada in Jakarta has demonstrated that democracy in Indonesia is getting better.

"Thank God, democracy in Indonesia has become better. We have witnessed a peaceful pilkada in Jakarta. This is because we have become more mature," Mahyudin, who is also deputy chairman of the Peoples Consultative Assembly, noted on Apr 21.

The Jakarta pilkada has also demonstrated that money politics was no longer effective in an election, he stated.

Mahyudin pointed out that he had received information about basic food items being distributed in Jakarta in a bid to garner support for a particular candidate and its failure to influence Jakartas voters.

"I heard that several people had distributed basic food items. Some people took the food items, but they did not vote for the candidate," he noted.

Democracy in Indonesia is not a discriminating one, he said, adding that it is basic logic that if Muslims choose a fellow Muslim candidate, then non-Muslims would prefer to vote for candidates following their faiths.

"Thank God, Jakarta has Anies and Sandi as their new governor and deputy governor now, because it is legitimate for Muslims to choose fellow Muslims as their leaders. It would be wrong if Muslims intimidated, provoked, and influenced non-Muslims, because Indonesia believes in religious tolerance," he remarked.

Indonesia is the worlds largest Muslim majority country, with more than 80 percent of its 250 million population being Muslims.

However, the nation, also recognizes -- Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism -- as official religions.

During the polling day, 51 observers from 29 countries, including the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Australia, Germany, the UK, Singapore, Mozambique, and Brazil, monitored the implementation of the election.

Indonesia has conducted direct presidential, legislative, and regional head elections since 2004 that have, so far, been peaceful and smooth.(*)

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