Inside Jakarta’s 2012 Elections for Governor

Publication Date: 
2 Oct 2012

On September 20, 2012, the capital city of Jakarta held its second round of elections for governor. The first round of this important poll took place on July 11, 2012.

Operations Coordinator Meredith Applegate answers questions on the race for the governorship and Election Day. 

How was Election Day?

Despite negative campaigning and racial tension, Election Day in Jakarta appeared to proceed quite well; polls opened at 7:00 a.m. and remained open until 1:00 p.m. with no major reported incidents thus far.

There are approximately 7 million voters in the Jakarta province, and voters here tend to go to the polls early in the day. There were over 15,000 polling stations in Jakarta on Election Day. Most of the polling stations we visited did not appear to keep voters waiting long.

How was turnout?

The Jakarta KPU has reported that 4,667,941 votes were cast in the runoff election out of 6,996,951 registered voters. 74,996 votes were invalid, making the total number of valid votes 4,592,945.

Turnout actually appears to be higher than in the first-round election in July. The first-round turnout was 63.7 percent. The second-round election resulted in a 66.7 percent turnout.

Security appeared to be somewhat of a concern. How did the city prepare?  

The campaign for governor – during the second round, in particular – was marred with reports of voter intimidation and vote buying. One of the candidates for vice governor, Basuki T. Purnama, is Christian and of Chinese dissent. There were reports that racial slurs were shouted at him during some campaign events and that people were threatened in an effort to keep them from voting.

To increase security, Jakarta KPU posted police in all polling areas. The number of officers per polling station/stations was dependent on the level of risk perceived in each area.

There were also allegations that people planned to take photos of their ballots with cell phones to prove they had voted for particular candidates so they could collect pay for their votes. As a precaution against this, cell phones were supposed to be banned in polling stations.

Why did so much time elapse between the first and second rounds? 

The second-round elections actually took place as scheduled, since the election stages for Jakarta are fixed. The schedule took into account a period of time for dispute resolution and a full second round. There were no significant allegations of misconduct from the July 11 elections.

How close was the race?

The race was very close – both the incumbent governor, Fauzi Bowo, and the challenger, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), had strong support. Incumbent Fauzi Bowo had significant backing from political parties, while Joko said he relied on backing “from the people.”

Prior to the first-round election, most pollsters were predicting a win for the incumbent. Therefore, it was a surprise to some that Joko won the most votes in the first round and forced a second round to take place.

When will results be announced and when will the winner take office?

The final tabulation was announced by Jakarta KPU on September 29. Jakarta KPU Chairwoman Dahlia Umar announced that Jokowi won 53.82 percent of valid votes, winning the majority of the vote in all five municipalities in Jakarta. Incumbent Fauzi Bowo only garnered 46.18 percent of valid votes.

There is no electronic results system in Indonesia, so votes are tabulated manually at each level. Votes are first sent to the kelurahan (village) level, then to the kecamatan (district) level and then to the municipality level before a final tabulation at the provincial level. 

The counting process, however, takes place at the polling station in public view as soon as the polls close. Therefore, quick counts were ready from several polling companies within a matter of hours after the polls closed at 1:00 p.m. Quick counts from five separate pollsters indicated that Joko had won the election; and the incumbent, Fauzi, conceded defeat based on these quick count results.

Barring any major electoral disputes, Jokowi will be sworn into office on October 7. The current governor’s term ends on October 6.