Until the results of the parliamentary elections, held on April 9th, and announced via vox pop long before the official count was completed in May, it wasn’t clear how many presidential candidates there were going to be. However. as a result of a lot of ego-centrism, which Jokowi and his coalition refused to countenance, it’s now just a two horse race.
Although I know who the co-habitees of Jakartass towers will vote for, I don’t have the vote so you’ll have to surmise from this series of posts who I would support if I could.
Although this election is more to do with personalities than policies and ideologies, it is the latter which is of greater importance. I want to know what the future holds for the country after the apparent stagnation and dilly-dallying of the past few years.
That voters choose figures, not parties is obvious. However, that no political party was able to present a coherent manifesto or vision prior to the parliamentary elections is to be regretted. PDI-P, the party which Jokowi is a member of, is a continued reflection of the first president Sukarno, which is natural given that his daughter, ex-president Megawati is the matriarch. Gerinda, Prabowo’s personal fiefdom, is promoting discipline and security, a reflection of his ties to Suharto’s Cendana clan.
Jokowi has never lost in an election, having been mayor of Solo before being elected Governor of Jakarta, largely because of his reputation for his walkabouts and meetings with communities affected by his policies.
When asked why they would vote for PDI-P, 57.8% said it was because they were attracted to Jokowi. Only 11.2% said [it was] because they supported the party’s commitment to defend wong cilik (a Javanese term for the poor and disadvantaged).
Prabowo has lost in an election when, in 2009, he was Megawati’s choice as prospective vice-president. His reputation is for not having dialogues with communities yet adversely affecting them through his actions. That he is a strong candidate is either symptomatic of a collective amnesia induced by the constantly regurgitated Suhartoist version of history or that his empathy for communities beyond his own is limited.
47.9% of Gerindra supporters in the survey said they supported the party because Prabowo was its leader. Only about 34% said they were attracted to the party’s platforms, which promote the interests of farmers, fishermen and street vendors.
So what are their respective policies, ideas and visions? Because Our Lad is now 17and is eligible to vote, before the April election, I gave him many clippings with information about the respective parties gleaned from my subscription to the Jakarta Post. All of them seemed to be anti corruption in words, although their track records indicated that much of what they espoused was mere omong kosong (b.s.) I also attempted to obtain literature from the various political parties whose flags, banners and stickers blighted our neighbourhood for months beforehand.
I had no success, not even when I dropped into the Gerinda rented house in Benhil, central Jakarta. Outside there were a dozen young toughs who, until I explained my mission, wanted to bar my way in. There were several more inside, and a few middle-aged men, one of whom seemed to be more important than the others because he was on the phone most of the time I was there. I explained my mission, in Indonesian, which seemed to relax them all a bit and waited …. and waited. I did explain that all I wanted was for my son, an Indonesian citizen, to use critical reasoning when working out who to cast his votes for. Eventually I was given a photocopy of a press cutting, the nearest thing to a ‘manifesto’ this local HQ had.
Our Lad’s first vote April 9th 2014
In the next posts in this series, I will attempt to analyse what policies and programmes each coalition seeks electoral support for. Again, I am indebted to the Jakarta Post for publishing what each pair presented to the National Elections Commission last week. This is Jokowi’s and this is Prabowo’s.