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Outsider wins Jakarta governor election

Publication Date : 21-09-2012


Residents of Jakarta voted out-of-towner Joko Widodo over incumbent Fauzi Bowo as their new governor, in a sign of mounting frustration over the Indonesian capital's worsening urban woes.

Official results are not out till October 3, but a quick count by several research groups and a national newspaper produced similar outcomes - 54 per cent of votes went to Joko and 46 per cent to Fauzi.

Fauzi, or "Foke", conceded defeat during a five-minute call to his opponent three hours after polls closed, wishing him all the best.

Indonesian Survey Institute political analyst Burhanuddin Muhtadi said: "While Jakarta residents acknowledge Fauzi's work as a governor, their desire for change is stronger."

His outfit was one of many that predicted a narrow win for Joko.

The win signals that racial smear campaigns during the election failed to sway the more educated voters in the capital city, who voted for an outsider with a proven anti-graft record over Fauzi, who is of Jakarta's native Betawi race and perceived as corrupt.

The results also suggest which political parties could make gains in the next parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.

Joko, known popularly as "Jokowi", is backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle led by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri. His running mate Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is backed by the Great Indonesia Movement Party led by former general Prabowo Subianto.

In the first round of voting on July 11, Joko won nearly 43 per cent of the vote in a six-way race, well ahead of Fauzi's 34 per cent. The two had to have this run-off as neither secured more than the 50 per cent required to be declared an outright winner.

Both promised to rid Jakarta of three chronic issues - worsening traffic jams, bad public transportation and perennial floods - all infrastructure problems in a city of 10 million.

Joko and Basuki promised a "New Jakarta", playing on Fauzi's inability to solve the city's troubles.

Meanwhile, Fauzi and his running mate, retired general Nachrowi Ramli, called for Jakartans to unite.

Yesterday, both sides put aside their verbal attacks with magnanimous gestures. Joko rallied Jakartans to put aside differences and work together. "I call on your support to help me build a better Jakarta," he told supporters at his camp, to cheers and loud singing.

The mood was more subdued at the other camp, where Fauzi's defensive stance was replaced by calm as he commended Jakartans for maintaining peace throughout polling day.

"You can be sure we will remain committed to creating a better Jakarta and we will work together with the next governor to contribute to this," he told the crowd of mostly journalists.

Now, Jakarta residents want Joko to deliver on his promises.

Cabby Saronih, who goes by only one name, said: "We know Pak Foke cannot solve all the issues in five years for a complicated city like this, but we vote for Jokowi because he is more approachable and seemed more enthusiastic... about making change happen."


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