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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.


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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.



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

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