Elections are never predictable, and the Jakarta governor’s race has been no different. While incumbent Fauzi Bowo was the front-runner, Solo Mayor Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, surprised everyone by taking the most votes and taking the lead going into a runoff election.
Wednesday’s results pit the two men each other in a runoff to decide who gets the capital’s top post. Leading Jakarta is not an easy job given the enormous challenges facing the city, especially the worsening traffic snarl on its roads.
Apart from the traffic, as the seat of the national government and the commercial center of the country, Jakarta also faces the challenge of housing a fast-growing population. The city’s skyline has changed dramatically in the past few years, but serious challenges remain on the ground level.
Both candidates will therefore need to articulate clear and achievable plans to improve the lives of the city’s inhabitants. Infrastructure remains a huge challenge, and Jokowi has promised to tackle this first if he is re-elected.
The Solo mayor, however, must do much more to differentiate himself from the current governor. He must continue to convince the electorate he has what it takes to improve Jakarta.
This has been one of the most open and exciting Jakarta gubernatorial elections, with six candidates competing for the post. Such a hotly contested election is good for democracy and the city, as new ideas on how to improve things have been debated.
Whoever ultimately wins must do what is right for the city and its residents. A top priority must be the construction of a mass rapid transit system to lessen the traffic congestion and improve the city’s allure. Also needed is wider distribution of clean water and a citywide sanitation system.
The next governor will have his work cut out for him. He must be able to rise to the task.Fauzi, Jokowi Must Rise to the Occasion