An idiot's guide to the 2017 Jakarta Local Elections

An idiot's guide to the 2017 Jakarta Local Elections

Find out what the fuss is all about the 2017 Jakarta Local Elections, as told by someone who has no idea what the fuss it's all about. I don't know. I'm high on caffeine right now.
Disclaimer: This post is intended to be a joke. Please don't take it seriously. I also might have been under the influence of caffeine while writing this. You have been warned.

Before I start, let me just get this out of the way. I’m an idiot. I have been abstaining from national news and media for nearly a couple months now, thanks to the sorry state that the Indonesian media has thrown themselves into over the past few years. So I pretty much know jack shit about the current goings-on in this country. And I like it so far. Being away from the noise actually helped my mental state a bit.

But unfortunately, there is one major event that’s about to occur on 15 February 2017 that I couldn’t just ignore.

That’s right, the 2017 Indonesian local elections is just right around the corner. This pain-inducing, mouth-watering, traffic-jam-causing, piece of shit of an election has become the spotlight of many Jakartans, or, many people who come from other towns and cities pretending to be Jakartans. Including me. Because I actually live in South Tangerang. Sue me.

Tonight, under the influence of caffeine, I have decided to write up a quick guide to the 2017 Indonesian Local Elections, written by an idiot who actually knows jack shit about the recent news, which is probably helpful for people who still don’t know what the fuck is up about this elections, and probably foreigners who just have no idea.

So how do I gather all these information, you may ask? Simple. It’s through my lazy googling of each candidates, as well as speed-reading (read: skimming) through some news articles of some notable events that occured to some of these candidates some time ago, all with the help of my awesome Twitter timeline, which has never stopped supplying me with dank memes that we’ve found throughout the build-up to the gubernatorial race.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

An actual picture of my Twitter timeline.
An actual picture of my Twitter timeline.
[Fir0002/Wikipedia, CC-BY-SA 3.0]

So, what is it?

The official title of this series of elections is supposed to be the 2017 Indonesian Local Elections. Yes, in case you didn’t know, we actually have more than one local elections going on at that exact same dates, but no one ever gives a fuck about them, so we’re going to only focus on the gubernatorial race in Jakarta. Hence, the 2017 Jakarta Local Elections.

Even when there are roughly half a dozen other provinces holding their own local elections this year, nope, apparently Indonesia only consists of Jakarta and we only care about that one city. So sorry people who live in Aceh, Bangka & Belitung Islands, Banten, Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, and West Papua. We’re not meant to say you don’t matter, more like constant exposure of Jakarta’s election also sparked conversations about the 2017 local elections, in a way. So we actually helped you guys in a way, right? Right?

Actual map of Indonesia.
Actual map of Indonesia.

Who’s involved?

The 2017 Jakarta Local Election is a gubernatorial race involving three pairs of governor and vice-governor candidates, all with their own background and qualifications. In this post, I’m only going to talk about the governor candidates. We’re not going to talk about the vice governor candidates, because let’s be honest, no one has ever given a fuck about Joe Biden until we found out about his bromance with President Obama himself. So we can leave them out for now.

#3 - Anies Baswedan (running mate: Sandiaga Uno)

Anies Baswedan is a governor candidate backed by a coalition consisting of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Anies Baswedan’s primary qualifications was becoming the Ministry of Culture and Education during the first two years of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s era, until Jokowi started to reshuffle his own cabinet every week. When he no longer had to serve as the Ministry of Culture and Education, he was replaced by a fuckwit.

His own humble, down-to-the-earth character, has won over a number of supporters too, even to the point of making rapper and probably-comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono to be his primary thought leader.

#2 - Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (running mate: Djarot Saiful Hidayat)

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, lovingly nicknamed as Ahok, is a governor candidate backed by a coalition consisting of Indonsian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Hanura party, the Golkar party and the National Democrat Party (Nasdem).

His qualifications include being the mayor of Belitung, or commonly known to the rest of Indonesia as “that one island where Laskar Pelangi took place”. Then he became President Jokowi’s running mate when he ran for the governor of Jakarta. Then when Jokowi ran off to become the President of Indonesia in 2014, he took his place as the governor of Jakarta during his first period, and has been killing it ever since.

Oh, and he’s recently been under fire for his alleged “blasphemy” scandal. More on that later.

#1 - Agus H. Yudhoyono (running mate: Sylviana Murni)

Agus H. Yudhoyono was born on the 10th of August, 1978, and is a governor candidate backed by a coalition consisting of the Democrat Party, the United Development Party (PPP) the National Awakening Party (PKB), and the National Mandate Party (PAN). Previously unknown in the Indonesian political landscape, his qualifications include being the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

I’m serious. That’s his only qualification.

Where does this whole shitstorm take place?

In Jakarta. Duh.

Actually, there are also some other cities & provinces which are holding their own local elections, but as I said, no one gives a fuck about them, right?

When will it take place?

15th of February, 2017.

Why has it caused so much of a shitstorm?

Far-right rallies

The 2017 Jakarta Local Elections has become a seizure-inducing shitstorm in of itself, thanks to the ever-shouting social media. It all started when candidate #2, Ahok, was found to have allegedly violated “blasphemy” law by “mocking” a piece from the holy book of Islam, the Qur’an. What follows was the weirdest series of trials since the Indonesian press creepily stalked throughout every single one of Jessica’s trials that one time.

Even if the case still remains inconclusive, some people refused to be silent. A group of angry mobs started flocking these trials, most of them are from the Muslim far-right organisation, the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), with the backing of the GNPF, an organisation pretending claiming to represent Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) (even if the MUI denied any involvement). They’ve held multiple rallies on the 4th of November (the “411” rally), and the 2nd of December (the “212” rally).

Depending on which sides you ask, the far-right said that Ahok has commited blasphemy, therefore should be jailed no matter what, or this country should “face the consequences”. Meanwhile, the other side has been lamenting about the actions of FPI that has become ever so worrying over time, and how they should be stopped.

Oh, and these people are actually so fucking dedicated into this rally, many of them even came from cities and towns far away just to attend these rallies. I’m still confused as to why they actually bothered to come to Jakarta and worry about the gubernatorial race that they’re not going to be a part of anyway. Plus the traffic’s shit. We don’t want any more people. Pleaseandthankyou.

Oh, also, apparently the official Twitter accounts of FPI and his leader, Habib Rizieq, got suspended not long ago. So yay… I guess?

Filter bubbles & fake news

Not only that, following the ever increasing relevance of social media and the Internet, we’ve seen countless of polarised shouting matches regarding this pointless election. Not to mention the increasing trend of fake news which use clickbait titles with no credible sources. These articles are picked up by these networks’ filter bubbles and both sides have been weaponising these fake news sites to deceive readers to go for one or the other.

This election has pretty much become a miniature version of the 2016 American presidential elections. Smear campaigns, religious-based uprising against a certain candidate, shouting matches on social media, and not to mention the fake news.

People kept saying we have learned from the 2016 American elections. Boy, were they wrong.

Filter bubble illustration.

Who should I vote for?

I don’t know. Don’t ask me, and make your own judgement. I’m not your mom.

As the filter bubbles of Facebook continue to make this election one of the most divisive since the 2014 election, I won’t think that it’s ethical to show which candidate I’m actually rooting for, even though it should’ve been obvious if you’ve been reading this piece.

So if you’re legally a Jakarta citizen, and are eligible to vote, just go out there at voting day, 15th of February 2017, and vote for whoever you think is best.

I’m actually just a foreigner interested in reading about this whole mess. I only have one question: what?

Yeah, I know. I still have no fucking idea what’s happening, either.

I’m still high on caffeine, too.


This post has been updated to clarify that the GNPF is not “officially” controlled by the MUI.