Jakarta Candidates Pledge To Play Fair During Election
Ronna Nirmala & Bayu Marhaenjati
The campaign teams of the six candidates running in next month’s gubernatorial election in Jakarta have signed a pact with the city authorities to ensure peaceful campaigning and balloting.
Insp. Gen. Untung S. Rajab, the Jakarta Police chief, said on Wednesday that the “peace declaration” was meant to secure the candidates’ commitment to conducting a safe, orderly and fair election.
“We want this election to proceed peacefully,” he said.
“Everything, from the preparations to the balloting to the announcement [of the results], must be carried out in a secure and peaceful environment.”
Most candidates and their running mates attended the signing at the police headquarters, with the exception of Governor Fauzi Bowo and Solo Mayor Joko Widodo. Another absentee was Didik J. Rachbini, the running mate for Hidayat Nur Wahid, the candidate from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
All the candidates are expected to be present to sign a similar declaration on Saturday at the behest of the Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPUD).
In that event, to take place at the Senayan sports complex in South Jakarta, the candidates will also get five minutes each to address an audience.
Suhartono, the head of the KPUD’s working team for the upcoming election, said that along with committing to a peaceful campaign, the pact required candidates to abide by the election results.
“They have to be committed to the possibility that they may win, as much as to the possibility that they may not,” he said.
Analysts, however, remain skeptical about the prospect of an orderly election, arguing that the KPUD had so far botched preparations for the July 11 vote.
Gun Gun Heryanto, a political analyst at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta, said the KPUD had not been professional in its job, largely due to the controversy over the flawed voter list.
“You could say the 2007 gubernatorial election was much better prepared than the one this year, although there are more parties and factors at play this year,” he said.
“The weak performance by the KPUD throughout this whole process has not only disadvantaged the people concerned, but also led to a loss of credibility in the commission’s ability to organize an election.”
The KPUD has come under criticism for not revising the electoral roll, even after acknowledging complaints by five of the six candidates that there were hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters listed.
Gun Gun said another area where the KPUD came up short was in scheduling the campaign rallies for each candidate.
He pointed out that the KPUD initially scheduled Hidayat’s rally for the Soemantri Brodjonegoro sports center in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on July 1, only to find out that the venue had already been booked for a corporate event that day.
Similarly, the planned rallies for Alex Noerdin, the Golkar Party candidate, and Faisal Basri, an independent candidate, were initially scheduled for venues that had already been booked.
“The KPUD should have prepared all these details a long time ago, but now it’s scrambling to make last-minute changes,” Gun Gun said.