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INDONESIA POLLS: Winners, losers in own backyards

Publication Date : 10-04-2014


Being the top boss of a political party may not guarantee an easy victory on an election battleground, even on one’s home turf.

The Golkar Party may have secured second place in the quick counts held by several pollsters on Wednesday, but the polling station where Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie and his family cast their vote was dominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gerindra Party.

The PDI-P won at polling station 32, in state elementary school SD 02 Menteng in Central Jakarta, garnering 93 votes, while Gerindra came second with 65 votes. Golkar came third with 33 votes.

“God willing, Golkar will be number one [in the legislative election] with 23 per cent of the national vote,” said Aburizal after casting his ballot.

Based on a quick count by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in cooperation with the Cyrus Network on Wednesday, Golkar ranked second after the PDI-P in a nationwide poll with a possible 14.3 per cent of the vote.

Chairman of the Muslim-based United Development Party (PPP), Suryadharma Ali, also struggled at his polling station in Menteng Dalam, Tebet, South Jakarta, where the PDI-P secured most of the vote, followed by Gerindra.

“It’s not the end of the world, yet. The counting is ongoing,” said Suryadharma.

The PPP ranked ninth with an estimated 6.61 per cent of the vote based on the CSIS quick count.

While Suryadharma and Aburizal endured media ridicule, Gerindra chief patron Prabowo Subianto was overwhelmed with joy after his party looked to have garnered almost 12 per cent of the vote based on the quick count, three times higher than what it booked in 2009.

“With this result, I am very, very optimistic to become president. I’m just an inch away,” he said.

Gerindra dominated the polling station in Prabowo’s neighborhood in Bojong Koneng village in Hambalang, West Java with the party securing almost 90 per cent of the vote.

Arriving at the station, located around 200 meters from his lavish mansion, at 8:45 a.m by car, Prabowo was quickly approached by one of the organisers who offered him the chance to jump the queue to cast his vote.

Under the watch of journalists, who had expected his arrival for hours, Prabowo quickly turned down the offer and instead patiently waited his turn.

“I’ll just join the line,” Prabowo said, waving to the crowd who repeatedly shouted his name.

Upon returning to his mansion, Prabowo boarded his helicopter that took him to Gerindra’s headquarters in South Jakarta.

Separately, the ruling Democratic Party won big in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s polling station, with an 80 per cent of the vote.

Yudhoyono and his family cast their ballots at Sekolah Alam Cikeas in Bogor, West Java.

After the ballot, Yudhoyono called on the public to respect the outcome of the elections at all costs and avoid unlawful acts.

“The nation must be ready to accept a new political agenda introduced by the new government. The achievements made during my 10-tenure should be maintained, the shortcomings must be worked on,” the President said.

“Parties with low support and candidates who are not elected, must accept the result wholeheartedly. There will be more opportunities in the future,” Yudhoyono said.

“In politics, it’s not uncommon to be disappointed about losing,” he added.

Several quick counts revealed the party might receive 9 to 10 per cent of the vote. The party won the 2009 legislative election with 26 per cent of the vote.

PDI-P presidential hopeful and Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also secured a big win for his party at his polling station in Taman Surapati park in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

The PDI-P garnered around 60 per cent there, followed by Gerindra and Golkar.

Later in the day, after several quick counts indicated that the PDI-P would fail to meet its target of securing 27 per cent of the vote, leaving it requiring a coalition to be able to propose a presidential candidate, Jokowi reiterated the party would refuse to form such an alliance if other parties demanded ministerial posts in exchange for support.

“We welcome any parties that want to form a coalition with us, but they should know we’re not going to repeat this administration’s mistake and be forced to give away ministerial posts and other concessions in exchange for support,” said Jokowi.


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