JAKARTA. As the vote counting process continues for Jakarta’s gubernatorial runoff election, praise is rolling in for the capital’s success in maintaining peace while achieving high voter turnout.
Speaking to journalists immediately after polls closed on Wednesday, a member of the Home Affairs Ministry’s election monitoring team, Haryadi, pointed out that the Jakarta gubernatorial election had stirred nation-wide tension with heated issues related to religious sentiments. However, everything was under control on voting day, he added.
“Despite the possibility of clashes, the situation [in Jakarta] has been relatively stable, according our observations,” Haryadi said. “The voting process ran peacefully, as we hoped."
“The government was committed to handling every situation with the proper security measures, as shown by the solid teamwork displayed by police and military personnel. This is something we haven’t seen in previous elections.”
Both stages of Jakarta’s gubernatorial election was marred with political tension exacerbated by racial and religious issues. The race peaked on Wednesday with the runoff election, which saw two main candidates from different religious backgrounds go head-to-head for the top post: incumbent Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is Christian and of Chinese descent; and Muslim scholar Anies Baswedan.
Kholil Pasaribu, a researcher for the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), said that previous concerns about the runoff election were unfounded.
“Voters’ enthusiasm was high. In many stations, we observed that — by 10 o’clock in the morning — 70 percent of total registered voters had cast their votes,” he said. (Nurul Fitri Ramadhani)