The Jokowi Victory
20 September 2012
First impressions of the Jakarta gubernatorial election results
by Wimar Witoelar
foto Ari Saputra - detikfoto
The results of the quick count are in, and although it is not conclusive in the formal sense, it is obvious that the challenger Joko WIdodo will win the election for governor of Jakarta, by a landslide margin against Joko WIdodo.
This has not come as a surprise. The enthusiasm for Joko WIdodo has been quite infectious and widespread, whereas Fauzi Bowo did not meet with much spirited support, although he had almost all the political parties and the municipal service employees behind him.
The people in the street are just ecstatic to have a candidate who is seen as one of them, who speaks the language of common people, Jokowi does not confuse people with technocratic concepts and complicated explanations.
It soon became evident that the election would not be based on programs or track records or on any rational basis. It is purely an election won by adrenalin, by emotions and by a desperate hope to see fresh face in national office.
This is provided in abundance by Joko Widodo. He is a fresh face; he has not bothered to engage himself in serious study of Jakarta's problems. He just decided to make a career jump and ran for the governorship by meeting the people with his heart on his sleeve, his smile and his checkered shirt. The degree to which cynical political machinations had a part will be the subject of analysis in the times ahead.
After the elections, the morning after will make people realize that they have not really defined expectations from the new governor. The people are so repulsed by the current political system that any promise of change is welcomed with open arms. it is enough that Jokowi was elected, and more importantly it is enough that the incumbent, a bureaucrat who has been in office at various levels for decades also will no longer appear on billboards and TV. People will hardly miss the face that has become to reflect the arrogance of power and bureaucracy, with disregards to achievements that have been reached in various areas of Jakarta development.
We have yet to see whether Joko WIdodo can be his own man, or whether he will succumb to the interests of the political parties nominated him, Gerindra and PDIP; All other parties supported Fauzi Bowo, and many felt satisfaction in seeing parties like Golkar, Partai Demokrat and PKS trounced so convincingly in an election.
It remains to be seen whether the victors can come out as effective leaders of Jakarta. This will only happen if Jokowi supporters can channel their campaign energy into support for his programs.
The final question then is whether main supporter ex-general Prabowo will emerge out of the shadows of his role in the 1998 violence. Closure is required to make sure that Joko WIdodo is not overshadowed by fear of recurrence of the May 1998 racist riots. It would be wise for Mr. Joko Widodo ask Mr. Prabowo to come out with an unequivocal declaration of accountability, to dispel the notion that he has ulterior motives in launching the new leadership of Jakarta. (End)