Defying Expectations, Jokowi Stuns Fauzi in Round 1; Runoff in September

By webadmin on 01:48 pm Jul 12, 2012
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Ronna Nirmala, Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Lenny Tristia Tambun

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo is fighting for his political life after he was humiliatingly forced into second place in the initial round of voting for the capital’s governorship.

Fauzi is set to face Solo Mayor Joko Widodo in a runoff vote on Sept. 20, but analysts say the Democratic Party-backed incumbent will face a major struggle to hold onto his position.

Unofficial surveys released in the hours after the 1 p.m. close of voting on Wednesday put the vote of Joko, who was backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), at about 43 percent. Fauzi, who many analysts expected to top the first round, finished on 34 percent.

Both candidates are now seeking the endorsement of the other four candidates. Soon after the result of the vote became clear, Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, sought meetings with each of them. Traditionally incumbents make up little ground between a first and second round of voting, as voters who have decided to reject the status quo rarely reconsider their decision.

Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said Joko did so well because Jakarta voters saw him as someone with integrity and admired his performance as Solo mayor.

“Besides receiving support from low-income voters, who are the base of PDI-P and Gerindra [the Great Indonesia Movement Party, which also backed his candidacy], Jokowi stole middle-class votes that might have gone to Fauzi,” he said.

Joko was able to convince the public that he was not only honest but also a good leader, Burhanuddin said.

Fachry Ali, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said Joko was well-supported among voters originating from across Java, who comprise the majority of Jakartans, rather than native Batawi, who were Fauzi’s voter base. “Like it or not, ethnic sentiment is still high, and people from Java want to see Jokowi become their governor,” he said.

Fachry added that Joko was best placed to win the second round because supporters of the losing candidates would likely back him over Fauzi. “Fauzi can be seen as a common enemy by supporters of the losing candidates,” Fachry said.

Center for Policy Studies and Strategic Development (Puskaptis) executive director Husin Yazid agreed that Joko was likely to win the governorship.

A Puskaptis poll last month pitting the two candidates against each other had Joko on 26 percent and Fauzi on 24 percent.

A few minutes after the polls closed, Jokowi visited the camp of Hidayat, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)-backed candidate who finished third on 11.9 percent, according to the LSI.

“I just wanted to meet with my ustad [teacher],” he said after the meeting. “We want to share perspectives.”

The LSI estimated that turnout for the vote was 64.5 percent, and there were no major incident or irregularities reported at the province’s polling booths.

The Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPUD) says it will not release the official results until next Thursday. The LSI data, based on exit polling, said the fourth-placed candidate was independent Faisal Basri, on 4.9 percent of the vote, followed by Golkar Party-backed Alex Noerdin on 4.8 percent and independent Hendardji Supandji on 2.1 percent. The polling company put the margin of error for its survey at 1 percent.

The two other surveys, by IndoBarometer and the daily newspaper Kompas, showed similar results.

Fauzi has as his candidate for deputy Nachrowi Ramli, while Joko’s running made is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok.

The fifth place for the Golkar Party-backed candidate was a surprise to many, given the party’s high profile and the substantial amount of funds it poured into the campaign. Relations within the party were further strained by the revelation that party chairman and 2014 presidential hopeful Aburizal Bakrie had left the country for a holiday in Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Fauzi remained tight-lipped after the survey results emerged, saying he would wait for the official result. Joko said: “Thank God, I have that many votes. That’s a sign of what Jakartans want,”

Earlier in the campaign five candidates threatened legal action over irregularities in the voter list, with suggestions tens of thousands of “ghost voters” would cloud the result. But the definitive nature of the result, with the lead candidates well ahead of third place, and neither of them too close to the 50 percent threshold that would have averted a runoff, suggests little scope for legal challenges.