Three ISEAS visiting fellows, Dr Max Lane, Dr Quinton Temby, and Mr Made Supriatma, shared their analysis on the overall election process and outcomes in this 120-minutes long seminar.
INDONESIA STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR
Monday, 22 April 2019 – Indonesia has successfully conducted the 2019 Presidential and Legislative Elections. There are no major glitches or security incidences throughout the process. The election shows a good voter turnout, with more than 80% of the voters participating. Quick count results show that incumbent President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is enjoying a 10 per cent lead, and the leading parties are the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the Golkar Party. Three ISEAS visiting fellows, Dr Max Lane, Dr Quinton Temby, and Mr Made Supriatma, shared their analysis on the overall election process and outcomes. Dr Siwage Dharma Negara moderated this 120-minutes long seminar.
More than 40 participants attended this seminar on the overall election process and outcomes of the 2019 elections (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Lane began the discussion by presenting the overall elections’ results and explained the underlying factors of the insignificant impact of both candidates’ campaign strategy to increase votes. He emphasised that the electoral political situation appeared to be stagnant, with Jokowi’s national vote only increasing 2-3 percentage points. The fact that political parties that supported Prabowo in 2014, GOLKAR and PPP, now supported Jokowi, had not resulted in significant changes in the total national vote outcome. Dr Lane also noted that neither Jokowi’ accommodation to religious identity politics nor Prabowo’s alliance with Islamist political groups appeared to change the overall national political balance. The fact that political parties that supported Prabowo in 2014, GOLKAR and PPP, now supported Jokowi, had not resulted in significant changes in the total national vote outcome.
Jokowi’s campaign was focused on continuity of his trademark policies, arguing that conditions were improving and therefore there was no requirement for significant change. Meanwhile, Prabowo argued major change is needed citing a range of statistics relating to poverty, the gap between rich and poor and slow growth. Concrete policies responding to this, especially at the structural level, were however not presented. Rather, Prabowo emphasised the need for a change of national leadership as the core solution
Dr Lane pointed out that while the national political situation reflected stagnation there was a deepening of a geo-cultural divide with each side in the electoral context increasing their votes in specific regions. This was especially noticeable for Jokowi who increased his vote by at least ten percent in Central and East Java and where he achieved over a 90% vote in Bali and a big increase in Nusantenggara Timor. Prabowo remained very dominant in West Sumatra and did well in many parts of Sumatra and Sulawesi and in the Sundanese areas of Banten and West Java. Jakarta, located in West Java, showed an almost equal balance, reflecting the underlying national balance of forces.
From left: Dr Max Lane, Dr Siwage Dharma Negara, Dr Quinton Temby and Mr Made Supriatma (Photo credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Lane also touched upon the voices that advocating a boycott of the election (golput) in response to the mainstream ideological shallowness. The advocacy for GOLPUT did not appear to have a major impact on votes. GOLPUT supporters did not have a national political vehicle nor a consensus on a post-electoral strategy. Dr Lane argued that it was an important and significant phenomena as it manifests a split within activist and organised civil society that may underpin new political developments.
Dr Temby took a different approach in reviewing the election, diving into the province of West Java. He focused on identity politics. He compared the political landscape in the province in 2014 and 2019. In 2014, Prabowo enjoyed 20 points led over Jokowi. This year, Jokowi attempted to gain more votes in this province, relying on the current governor, Ridwan Kamil’s endorsement. However, he continues to trail behind Prabowo. This is because Prabowo managed to mobilise popular Islamic preachers, used social media and benefited from PKS’s door-to-door campaign.
Moreover, Dr Temby argued that the political dynamics in West Java shows that bureaucratic machine is no substitute for community works and identity politics rules led by new sources of religious authority. The polarisation will mark Jokowi’s second term whereby the Islamist groups would see Jokowi as an oppressive regime (dzalim), while the government considers the Islamist opposition as a threat to turn Indonesia into an Islamic State.
Mr Made Supriatma comparing the results of the 2014 and 2019 elections. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
As a discussant, Mr Supriatma generally agreed on Dr Lane’s point on the geo-cultural divide. He showed the results from 2019 election and found similar pattern compared to the 2014 election. However, Jokowi’s popularity in Java had erased Prabowo’s gains in the outer islands. He mentioned some similarities of this year election with political pattern in the 1950s with the thickening support for each candidate from different groups and deepening divisions in the society.
More than 40 attendees from a different background, ranging from government officials, academics, students, media, and the public, joined the seminar. They engaged in a discussion on a wide variety of topics, including Wahabism in West Java, the return of aliran politik, the socio-economic divide between Java and outer islands, the role of NU in the upcoming government, and discussion on the phenomenal film “Sexy Killers” released by Watchdog during the cooling period.