Jakarta Voter Demographics Set Up Close Fauzi-Jokowi Duel, But Surprises Loom

By webadmin on 08:55 pm Jun 12, 2012
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Ronna Nirmala & Lenny Tristia Tambun

With a month to go until the Jakarta gubernatorial election, the prospect of a two-horse race between incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo and Solo Mayor Joko Widodo is growing more likely, analysts say.

A series of recent polls have put Fauzi out in front, with Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, in second place and closing fast.

“Fauzi and Jokowi look like the favorites,” Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said on Sunday.

“However, each candidate has their own strengths that they can use to win.”

Both appeal to different demographics, with Fauzi, a career bureaucrat, appealing to mass organizations and lower-income voters, according to Toto Izul Fatah, a researcher with the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI).

“Grassroots voters don’t see anything wrong with Fauzi,” he said, adding that complaints about the city’s traffic and flood problems came largely from middle- and higher-income residents.

“They believe conditions so far are good. So why change?”

Toto said another group that Fauzi could almost certainly count on was Betawi voters. However, the 2010 census showed that native Jakartans made up only 10 percent of the city’s population.

The biggest ethnic group in the capital is Javanese, with Jokowi a firm favorite to get most of that vote, said political analyst Fadjroel Rachman, director of the Soegeng Sarjadi School of Government.

He said that Jokowi, a furniture salesman before he became mayor, would also have the support of middle- and higher-income voters.

A survey by the University of Indonesia and the Cyrus Network gave Jokowi 17 percent of the vote from high-income residents, opinion leaders and academics, followed by independent candidate Faisal Basri with 16.5 percent and Fauzi in third place with 14.2 percent.

“But the problem with voters from middle- and high-income groups is that they don’t actually come to the polling stations and cast their vote,” Fadjroel said.

However, Adi Prakoso, from the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), said Jokowi was also popular with lower-income voters, thanks largely to his success in relocating street vendors in Solo without the use of force, as is common in Jakarta.

“The voters essentially want a governor who engages them freely in dialogue, not someone who dictates his policies to them,” he said.

“The impression that they get from Jokowi is of someone who is close to the little people.”

But with Jokowi and Fauzi hogging the limelight, analysts say a third candidate could steal the show: Hidayat Nur Wahid from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

In the 2007 election, the PKS stood on its own in nominating Adang Daradjatun, who went on to lose by 45 percent to Fauzi’s 55 percent, despite the latter having the support of virtually every other political party in the city.

This time around, Aleksius said, Fauzi had a much more diminished political base because the major parties were all backing their own candidates.

If the PKS can repeat its performance from 2007, he argued, then Hidayat could stand a chance to win it all.