Will Solo Attacks Affect Outcome of Jakarta Election? Pundits Weigh In
Lenny Tristia Tambun
Last Saturday’s terror attacks in Solo are unlikely to affect the position of Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Joko Widodo in the Jakarta gubernatorial runoff which is slated for September, an analyst said.
The incidents could even benefit the Solo mayor, known as Jokowi, if he can handle the situation well and show his ability to maintain security and peace.
“The Solo attacks will not affect Jokowi’s position in running for Jakarta governor,” Ibramsyah, a political analyst from University of Indonesia, said on Wednesday.
Ibramsyah linked the incidents to the Jakarta gubernatorial election. He said the incidents could have been created by Jokowi’s rival to create a negative image that the mayor was unable to manage a small town, let alone a place like Jakarta.
However, he also said it could also have been created by Jokowi’s camp to gain sympathy from the public.
“It could’ve been created by his political rival or by his own camp,” Ibramsyah said. “The mastermind of the Solo incidents remains a mystery, but the one thing for certain is that this will not affect Jokowi’s position as Jakarta gubernatorial candidate.”
Voicing similar views, sociologist Thamrin Amal Tamagola said that the terror attacks were meant to create an impression of how weak Joko Widodo’s leadership is in the relatively small city of Solo.
“It’s completely the opposite of [Fauzi Bowo], who recently said that the situation in Jakarta was relatively under control,” he explained.
Joko and Fauzi will compete in a runoff election for the governorship on Sept. 20.
But a different view was offered by a former activist with the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network, who said the recent grenade attack on a police post in Solo was carried out by military-trained assailants.
Ali Fauzi pointed out that the two police officers injured in the attack were not killed and that the explosive used had been modified to create a non-fatal blast.
The Solo mayor is trying to bring calm to the city by joining forces with all districts heads in Central Java in the wake of a series of terror attacks by making sure that its residents can enjoy the Idul Fitri holiday in peace.
“Jokowi and other district heads are working together for the interest of the residents because Solo cannot handle the problem alone but it has to involve the Central Java province,” Ibramsyah said.
Jokowi campaign team spokesman Deni Iskandar said the Solo bombing and the shooting of a police officer are under investigation and that his camp would not speculate about the people behind the incidents.
“We’re leaving it to the authorities [to investigate the case],” Deni said.
Meanwhile, in Jakarta, incumbent Governor Fauzi Bowo asked people not to link the recent fire incidents that have been rampaging some parts of the capital with the gubernatorial election.
Fauzi called the belief that the fires were only occurring in Jokowi’s strongholds in Jakarta “unwise and irrational.”
“Perceptions like that are negative. Let’s just wait for the police investigation,” he said at City Hall on Thursday.
Fauzi offered a reminder that his administration had taken measures to prevent bomb threats or other terror activities similar to those in Solo from taking place in Jakarta. He said he hoped Jakarta could continue to be a safe and comfortable place for its residents through security.
“I just hope that Jakarta will remain safe and comfortable for its residents. Let’s maintain security and peace,” he said.
Fauzi said he continued to consult with the National Police chief and Jakarta Police chief to maintain security and to monitor the situation in the capital.
“I am still monitoring it, but there is nothing to be worried about in Jakarta,” he said.
“Harmony among the people with different faiths continues to run well. No one is complaining about that, so there’s nothing to worry about here.”
Eight fire outbreaks hit parts of Jakarta during Ramadan in Pekojan and Krendang (Tambora), Taman Sari, Karet Tengsin, Kalideres, Cideng, Pondok Bambu and the latest incident in Kapuk Muara.
Both gubernatorial candidates have set up relief posts in the hopes of gaining support from victims.