Nothing has necessarily disrupted this mayoral election, and voters look happy and enthusiastically cast their votes at ballot booths
Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Voters in 23 districts and cities in North Sumatra province cast their ballot for this year's simultaneous regional elections on Wednesday.

Sixty-four candidate pairs were in fray for the ‘fiesta’ of democracy. However, Medan city's mayoral election is being politically perceived as the most interesting in North Sumatra owing to one candidate's personal relationship with President Joko Widodo, and the city's status as Indonesia's third largest after Jakarta and Surabaya.

In Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra, the mayoral election is being contested by candidate pair number 02, Muhammad Bobby Afif Nasution-Aulia Rachman, and candidate pair number 01, Akhyar Nasution-Salman Alfarisi.

Known as the husband of President Joko Widodo's daughter, Kahiyang Ayu, Bobby Nasution has the support of eight political parties, including the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), and Golkar Party.

The pairing of Akhyar Nasution and Salman Alfarisi is backed by just two political parties -- the Democratic Party (PD) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

On voting day, candidate number 01 for Medan mayor, Akhyar Nasution, voted at Polling Station No.22 in Pulo Brayan Darat 2 neighborhood of Medan Timur subdistrict.

Accompanied by his wife and two children as well as his campaign team head, Ibrahim Tarigan, Akhyar Nasution walked to the polling station, located around 100 meters from his residence.

Born in Medan on July 21, 1966, Akhyar Nasution served as the city's deputy mayor from February 17, 2016 to October 17, 2019. He was appointed as the city's acting mayor after Dzulmi Eldin was detained in a corruption case on October 17, 2019.

On Wednesday, Akhyar Nasution told local journalists that he was thankful to see a high voter turnout in the “peaceful and orderly” mayoral election.

"Nothing has necessarily disrupted this mayoral election, and voters look happy and enthusiastically cast their votes at ballot booths," he observed.

Apart from the percentage of votes that he may obtain, Akhyar Nasution, who has been registered as voter number 29, said he hopes that the Medan mayoral election proceeds fairly so that whoever wins it would truly have the backing of the majority of voters.

"Today's democratic process is expected to be free from pressures from any party. Insya Allah (God willing), it will produce a truly-elected leader," he remarked.

Candidate number 01 for Medan mayor, Akhyar Nasution, voted at Polling Station No.22 in Pulo Brayan Darat 2 neighborhood of Medan Timur subdistrict, Wednesday (9/12/2020). (ANTARA FOTO/Rony Muharrman/hp)

Meanwhile, Akhyar Nasution's rival, Bobby Nasution, and his wife, Kahiyang Ayu, cast their vote at Polling Station No.022 in Taman Setia Budi Indah housing complex of Asam Kumbang neighborhood, Selayang subdistrict.

Before heading to the polling station, Bobby and his family visited his late father's grave.

At the polling station, both Bobby and his wife wore face masks to show their support for the strict health protocols mandated by the government for voting day.

"May this mayoral election run smoothly, and the voters' turnout is higher than that in previous regional elections," Bobby Nasution told journalists shortly after casting his vote.

Meanwhile, North Sumatra Police chief, Inspector General Martuani Sormin, has assured that police officers dispatched to secure the elections would maintain their neutrality.

Earlier, he had appealed to all police officers in Medan and other participating regions across North Sumatra not to take pictures with candidates competing in the simultaneous regional elections.

Cops found violating the National Police's commitment to maintaining neutrality in the regional elections would face tough sanctions, he informed.

Sormin added that whoever wins the elections will be perceived as the best figures.

No matter the winner, the leadership and capability of the newly-elected Medan mayor and his deputy will soon be tested by several serious problems in multiple sectors.

Flooding is one of them. Just five days prior to the convening of the Medan mayoral election, flash floods had swept through some parts of Medan and its outskirts.

The Medan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) was quoted by the local media as reporting that the flash floods affected 5,965 residents, or 1,983 households, and damaged a total of 2,773 homes.

The flood, which was triggered by the overflowing of Belawan River following rains in the affected areas early on December 4, 2020, claimed the lives of five residents of Tanjung Selamat village in Sunggal subdistrict.

Medan city's residents are keen to rid the city of flooding. They are also seeking to make their city among Indonesia's most livable, with relatively-low crime rates. At present, Medan lags far behind by Jakarta, and, even, Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.

Therefore, the current mayoral election should not just be seen as a routine democratic process that takes place once every five years. Instead, the mandate must be to create promising urban living conditions for Medan's residents.

In this election, Medan’s voters are keen to install a mayor and deputy mayor who can beautify their city and make it livable for all.

Related news: Flash floods in Medan claim five lives

Related news: COVID-19 rapid testing commences for election supervisors in Medan

Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
Copyright © ANTARA 2020