Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Arientha Primanita
For South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin, Wednesday’s election day for the Jakarta governorship did not start well.
Aburizal Bakrie, the chairman of Alex’s political backer, the Golkar Party, chose not to hit the polling stations, opting instead to vacation with his family.
“Pak Ical arrived in Los Angeles [on Tuesday]. He’s vacationing with his family,” Golkar deputy secretary general Nurul Arifin said on Wednesday, referring to Aburizal by his nickname.
Aburizal had repeatedly said he fully supported Alex but his decision to go abroad on election day, sent a contrary signal to voters.
“Alex Noerdin must be so disappointed. Ical and his family went to LA for vacation instead of voting for him?” one person wrote on Twitter.
Along with the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) and the United Development Party (PPP), Golkar backed the bid of Alex and his running mate Nono Sampono, a former commander of the presidential security force.
But Golkar politician Indra J. Piliang said Alex lost because of the lack of strategy in his campaign.
“I think the main factor in Alex Noerdin’s campaign was behind the scenes,” he said. “It is shocking, because Alex-Nono got less votes than Golkar in Jakarta [during the 2009 national legislative election].
“We need to maximize our efforts to win in future elections.”
Alex finished fifth, poll quick-count surveys suggest, garnering between 4.4 and 4.8 percent of the votes cast.
Alex, who invested billions of rupiah into his campaign, fared even worse than independent candidate Faisal Basri, who attracted between 4.8 and 4.9 percent of the vote with a miniscule budget and without political backing. “We finished fourth. An independent [candidate] defeating Golkar,” Faisal said with a laugh suggesting that he was happy with what he had accomplished.
“You can bet that we won’t go through to the runoff vote. We accept this result but we have to appreciate the General Elections Commission [KPUD] which will make a final announcement.”
Golkar was the party of strongman former president Suharto.
Quick counts conducted by several survey groups indicated that Wednesday’s election would result in a runoff vote between Solo Mayor Joko Widodo and incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo. Joko and Fauzi attracted 42 percent and 34 percent of the votes, respectively.
Joko was quick to meet with candidate Hidayat Nur Wahid, who finished third with 12 percent. Analysts speculated that the meeting was to seek Hidayat’s support for the second round of voting, scheduled for Sept. 20.