SOLO — In Indonesia’s recent local elections, Hadi Rudyatmo, a former sidekick of President Joko Widodo, seemed set to easily retain the mayor’s job in this city of around half a million people in central Java. But that does not say much about the current standing of Widodo himself in the national political scene. The nationwide vote for mayors and other local government positions was staged on Dec. 9. Although the country’s election commission is not due to announce results until Dec.18, provisional results indicate that Rudyatmo is likely to win Solo with around 60% of the vote. Siska Sitiawan Sanjaya and her brother Sandro voted together in central Solo early on polling day. Both opted for the incumbent who, like his better-known predecessor as mayor and current president, Widodo, goes by a nickname. “I choose Rudy,” Siska said. “I think he can manage Solo city well, and can make it better.”
SOLO/YOGYAKARTA – Inside the Vredeberg, kids lined up to take out Dutch soldiers occupying late 1940’s Jogja – all rendered in 1990’s Nintendo-vintage graphics. Jilbab-wearing students tapping furiously on the screen, avenging colonial wrongs in a sort of a digitised bowdlerisation of Franz Fanon.
SOLO – “Most people will be angry if this change passes,” said Bonar Tigor Naipospos, vice-chairman of the Setara Institute, an Indonesian think tank. “They will see their rights as being hijacked by political parties.”
YOGYAKARTA – Before Joko Widodo takes over as President, Indonesia’s MP’s will vote on September 25 whether to revert to an old system under which heads of local government – including mayors – are chosen by local lawmakers rather than directly elected by voters. The proposed legislation is proving divisive, with the president-elect describing it as a potential setback for democracy in Indonesia. Another opposing change is Yogyakarta Mayor H. Haryadi Suyuti. “Let the people decide, let the people choose their own representative,” the mayor said.
JAKARTA/SOLO – Early results in Indonesia’s legislative elections held Wednesday showed pre-vote favourite the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) falling well short of a hoped-for 30 per cent showing, with concerns that the party could even fail to cross the 20 per cent threshold needed to nominate a presidential candidate without the backing of a smaller party. Early tallying of votes showed PDI-P posting just short of 20 per cent of the vote. Going into the April 9 poll, the PDI-P hoped that pitching Joko Widodo – the flesh-pressing, popular governor of Jakarta – as its presidential candidate would lift the party back to the heights attained in Indonesia’s first post-dictatorship election in 1999, when it won 33 per cent. “He is a good man, a simple man. Everyone here likes him,” said teacher Hernawan Tri Wahyudi, speaking in Solo, Joko Widodo’s hometown, where he forged his political career as mayor before winning the Jakarta governorship in 2012.