The Muslim candidate and former minister is leading by 16% with almost all votes counted in his bitterly contested race against embattled incumbent Ahok
Anies Baswedan, Indonesia’s former minister for education and culture who courted the conservative Islamic vote during campaigning, is set to become Jakarta’s new governor, with ‘quick count’ polls showing the Muslim candidate leading by 16% with most votes counted.
While the official results will not be announced until early May, Baswedan struck a victorious tone at an afternoon press conference.
“For us the journey is still long. Our effort is not just winning the election but our main aim is to bring back social justice for Jakartans,” he told reporters, according to ABC.
In the months prior to the election, Baswedan had appeared to pull away from Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly called Ahok, but a series of corruption allegations levelled at the academic-turned-agitator in March had opinion polls showing the two candidates neck-and-neck before today’s vote.
The election campaign exposed the capital city’s deep religious divisions, highlighted by mass protests against Ahok, who stepped into the position vacated by Joko Widodo when he became president.
Concerns that the anger could lead to civic unrest during today’s vote led city authorities to mobilize 64,000 police officers to protect citizens from intimidation and quell potential violence.
Unless the initial polls prove to be wildly off, Baswedan will be sworn in as Jakarta’s new governor in October, a development that will be embraced by the political old guard, according to Leo Suryadinata, a visiting senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
“Anies is supported by entrenched interests, but he himself is not a very strong person,” he told Southeast Asia Globe last month. “If Anies wins, it will be the victory of entrenched interests.”