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The result of Wednesday’s gubernatorial election could well be as consequential. The five-yearly fight for the Jakarta governorship is setting itself up as the battlefield for proxies of national level interests, as well as an audition for higher office.
Preliminary tallies show that the incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (or Ahok), has won 43 per cent of the vote, followed closely by former academic and education minister Anies Baswedan on 40 per cent. The son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), Agus Harimurti, was Knocked out after gaining just 17 per cent of the vote. He gave up a military career to make what now looks to have been a premature entry into politics. With no candidate receiving more than 50 per cent of the vote, Ahok and Anies will compete in a runoff election in April.
Ahok can be pleased with his result in the first round given the huge headwinds he has faced. This is his first time seeking a personal electoral mandate in Jakarta: he was Jokowi’s deputy governor and got his current job after Jokowi was elected president. Even his adversaries admit that he has had real policy wins in a city that is notoriously difficult to govern. But his abrasive personality alienates elites and voters alike, and as a ‘double minority’ - ethnic Chinese and Christian - he is subject to both racial and religious targeting.
Read the full article by Liam Gammon on the Australian Financial Review.