See More on Facebook

Politics

Indonesia regional elections: A promising sign for Jokowi?

Indonesians went to the polls on Wednesday in the country’s 2018 regional elections, widely viewed as a barometer for the presidential election due next year.


Written by

Updated: July 2, 2018

Over 150 million people were registered to elect 17 governors, 39 mayors and 115 regents across the country.

Quick counts of votes by various pollsters suggest a favourable outcome is likely for current Indonesian President Joko Widodo, with candidates backed by parties supporting the president in the lead in key regions. Official results will be released next month.

Commonly referred to as “Jokowi,” Indonesia’s president is widely expected to face off against retired general Prabowo Subianto next year in a re-run of the 2014 election which saw Jokowi narrowly clinch a victory over his rival. Here is a closer look at some of the key regions in the election.

West Java

The most populous province in the country, West Java is widely believed to be a particularly significant early indicator for next year’s presidential election. Known for being religiously conservative, West Java is the area where the country’s Islamist Prosperous Justice Party enjoys the most support, according to The Jakarta Post. It was also a key region that Jokowi failed to win in the 2014 presidential election, with Prabowo emerging victorious with 59.78 per cent of vote.

Early results in the region look promising for Jokowi. Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil appears to have a slim lead, The Jakarta Post reported, citing quick counts of votes by six pollsters. Ridwan and his running-mate Uu Ruzhanul Ulum are backed by the Islamist PKB and United Development Party (PPP), both parties that support the president.

However, the quick results have also yielded some surprise good news for his rival Prabowo, with Sudrajat, a candidate backed by Prabowo’s opposition Gerindra party in a close second behind Ridwan. Sudrajat, a former two-star general, was initially predicted to finish third behind Deddy Mizwar and his running-mate Dedi Mulyadi, who are backed by the Jokowi-supporting Golkar party.

East Java

Former social affairs minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa looks set to claim the victory in East Java, with quick counts by Kompas Research Centre and Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting showing that she has won 53.74 and 52.3 per cent of the vote respectively, the Jakarta Post reported.

If she wins, it will be third time lucky for Khofifah, who ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2008 and 2013. A member of Islamic group Nahdlatul Ulama, she is backed by the Democratic Party, the Jokowi-supporting Golkar party, the Nas Dem Party and the United Development party (PPP), another recent supporter of the president.

Saifulah “Gus Ipul” Yusuf, the other candidate in the region, is supported by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Gerindra Party.

According to The Jakarta Post, both candidates could feasibly have the endorsement of Jokowi – Gus Ipul as the chosen candidate of Jokowi’s PDI-P and Khofifah as a former member of the president’s cabinet.

Central Java

In Central Java, it seems likely that incumbent governor Ganjar Pranowo will maintain his grip on the position, easily pulling ahead of Gerindra-backed Sudirman Said.

A victory for the PDI-P in the province would surprise no one – Central Java is viewed as a stronghold for nationalist parties such as the PDI-P, which has won all legislative elections there since 1999, The Jakarta Post reported.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Press freedom is deteriorating in Asia, elections may offer a reset button

With many countries going to polls this year, the electorate across Asia have a chance to turn around a worrying press freedom situation. Maria Ressa’s arrest on Wednesday was the latest in a string of blatant attacks on the freedom of the press in Southeast Asia. For those that don’t know, Ressa is an award-winning journalist and CEO of the news website the Rappler. Her coverage of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s extra-judicial war on drugs has received recognition far beyond her borders and as such, she is seen as a direct threat to the government. The latest arrest, made without prior warning, stemmed from a libel case where the complaint was filed five years after the initial story was published. Numerous press alliances, including the Asia News Network, have condemned the arrest as a blatant attack on freedom of the press. As the Philippines chapter of the Centre for Media Freedom and


By Cod Satrusayang
February 15, 2019

Politics

Thai Princess Ubolratana disqualified from election next month

The Election Commission said that members of the royal family should be “above politics” and therefore cannot “hold any political office”. Thailand’s Election Commission has ruled a princess out of next month’s election as uncertainty hangs over the fate of the political party which tried to nominate her as its candidate for prime minister. The name of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s elder sister, was left out of a list prime minister nominees released by the commission on Monday (Feb 11). There are 69 names, including that of current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, on the list. “All membe


By The Straits Times
February 12, 2019

Politics

South Korea, US ink provisional defense cost-sharing pact

Getting allies to pay ‘their fair share’ has been a major part of President Trump’s rhetoric. South Korea and the United States signed a provisional agreement Sunday on the sharing of costs to maintain US troops here, with South Korea raising its share by 8.2 percent. Seoul’s negotiator, Chang Won-sam, and his US counterpart, Timothy Betts, met in Seoul to ink the contract. Under the new deal, South Korea will pay about 1.03 trillion won ($890 million) to cover the costs of stationing the 28,500 members of US Armed Forces Korea here throughout 2019. The figure reflects the rate of increase of South Korea’s annual defense budget, according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. Last year, South Korea paid about 960 billion won to its ally for the same purpose.


By The Korea Herald
February 11, 2019

Politics

Thailand is headed for another political crisis and it can’t stop itself

Prayuth Chan-ocha may be prime minister after elections but what comes after is much harder. On the 16th of May, 1877, French President Patrice de Mac-Mahon dismissed then Prime Minister Jules Simon and named a successor who was rejected by the house of parliament. Mac-Mahon responded by dissolving parliament unilaterally leading to a constitutional crisis which changed the landscape of French politics until well into the 20th century. Thailand may soon experience something similar.


By Cod Satrusayang
February 11, 2019

Politics

200 Myanmar Buddhist flee violence into Bangladesh

The refugees were fleeing from clashes between the central government and a separatist group. Around 200 Buddhists from Myanmar’s Chin state crossed into a remote hilly region of Bandarban’s Ruma on Monday following intensified fighting between Myanmar army and rebel group Arakan Army, officials said. Shamsul Alam, upazila nirbahi officer in Ruma upazila, said members of around 40 Myanmar families took shelter in Cheih Kaying Para under Remakree Prangsha union. The fresh arrival of Myanmar nationals takes place at a time when Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the burden of over a million Rohingya Muslims. Of them, some 750,000 have taken shelter in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017 following a military crackdown in Rakhine. Some 1,300 Rohingyas recently fled to the camps from India after allegedly facing abuses and threats in the neighbouring country. Several do


By Daily Star
February 8, 2019

Politics

Editorial: Modi’s visit underscores atrocities in Kashmir

An editorial at Dawn takes a look at India Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Kashmir. There couldn’t have been a more apt prelude to Kashmir Day, observed in Pakistan on Feb 5 each year, than the images of the closed-down occupied valley in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit. The land was on a lockdown to ensure smooth passage for the Indian prime minister, who was visiting to monitor development projects. Businesses were closed and internet services on the phone suspended. True to tradition, several well-known Kashmiri leaders were put under house arrest and hundreds of others also taken into custody in the run-up to the trip. Srinagar presented the look of a city besieged by soldiers taking control of the roads. Read more: 


By Dawn
February 6, 2019