Election in Jakarta heads for a run-off
THE RACE to become governor of Indonesia’s capital was neck and neck in early counting yesterday and heading for a second round between the incumbent Christian governor and a Muslim former education minister, sample counts showed.
The Jakarta poll has been overshadowed by religious tensions, with mass Islamist-led protests against Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian.
The vote is also being widely seen as a proxy battle for the 2019 presidential election.
Purnama had secured 42.57% of the votes, just ahead of former minister Anies Baswedan in second place with 40.23%, based on a quick sample count of about 40% of the vote by private polling firm SMRC.
A candidate needs more than 50% of the votes in the first round to win outright.
The job of governor can be a springboard to the presidency and weeks of campaigning have been accompanied by mudslinging, political intrigue and rising hardline Islamist sentiment, raising questions about the role of religion in politics. Purnama has been campaigning while on trial on a charge of insulting the Qur’an, a case that has brought Muslims onto the streets, urging voters to shun a non-Muslim as leader.
He denies the charge and after dipping in the polls his support rebounded, which analysts attribute to his record of improving the bureaucracy and easing congestion and flooding in Jakarta. Reuters