A celebration of democracy: It may not be as good as it appears

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(illustration: IO/Rudraksha)

IO, Jakarta – Regional Elections (Pilkada) is the moment when all regions must elect leaders that they expect can bring about changes for the better. A prosperous community should be the main target of regional leaders. The 3rd Simultaneous Pilkada was held on 27 June 2018 in 171 regions: 17 provinces, 39 municipalities, and 115 regencies. The 1st and 2nd Simultaneous Pilkadas were held in 2015 and 2017.

A Peaceful Pilkada
According to Titi Anggraini, the Executive Director for the Association of Elections and Democracy (Perludem), Pilkada is a journey to achieve local democratic consolidation. Titi believes and sees that Pilkada is running well. “There would naturally be legal charges based on the results submitted by the losing candidate pairs (paslon), but as long as the legal mechanism is guaranteed by law, there should be no problem. I expect there will be some tension in the regions known for their high temper, such as most of the regions in Eastern Indonesia. Because a Pilkada is being held in Papua, which is in several regencies and municipalities, there have been prolonged candidacy disputes even from the time candidacy is being determined. However, I think that in general, this is no difference from the situation in earlier Pilkadas, which actually ran safely despite high tension and heat in several regions,” she said.

Arif Susanto, Political Analyst from Exposit Strategic, said that the 2018 Pilkada is stagnant: there is progress on some things, but setbacks in others. For example, election administration has improved. On the other hand, we can count as a setback that law enforcement against corruption contributes to the progress of democracy, but in fact many offiicals are corrupt. The Government has a lot of homework to do, and improvements can be effected through two channels: the elite and the masses. There must be improvement among the elite because Indonesian politics tend to be elitist, and power tends to be centralized. Therefore, we must avoid elitism by institutionalizing politics. We must improve the masses, because politically savvy masses would greatly contribute to democracy.

Meanwhile, Ray Rangkuti, Political Observer from Lingkar Madani Indonesia (LIMA), said that the positive conditions in the 2018 Pilkada include improvement in administration and reduction of money politics. However, there are negative issue that might lower the level of voter participation.

Paramadina University’s Political Communications Observer, Hendri Satrio, said the fact that Pilkada is running peacefully shows that the people are now more mature in voting. This attitude should be imitated by Government officials, who should continue to be neutral and impartial. Pilkada as a form of national celebration of democracy has improved greatly. The people are more politically mature for now – we need only wait for the validation at the Regional Elections Committee (KPUD). “Hopefully there will be none of the objections or frauds that tend to rise up during the validation,” he said.

Siti Zuhro, Senior Researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said that the Pilkada is running smoothly because what happens in DKI Jakarta cannot be considered to be the same as Pilkada in other regions. We tend to conclude that anything that happens in DKI Jakarta also happens in other regions. This is erroneous: Jakarta is different from other regions, because it is the elites that push for occurrences to happen, and the people welcome them. It’s not the people who are naughty, it’s the elites.

However, Pilkada in general is more measured and peaceful nowadays. Parties, elites, and other groups related to Pilkada are now aware that Pilkada in this one area, which contains 71% of the total Indonesian voters, will adversely affect 2019 Elections if it is not controlled.

The 2018 Pilkada can serve as reference that elections in the regions are relatively more peaceful and in better quality, despite the occurrence of some crucial violations such as law violations, transactional politics, and enforced voting of candidates. We can say that the holding of Pilkada per se need not encourage conflicts and disputes, but the final condition remains a mystery because there is no formal statements of winners and losers from the Regional Elections Committee (KPUD).

Violations and Doubled DPT Data
The 3rd Simultaneous Pilkada did run peacefully, but not trouble-free. The contestants found various violations, including the classic issue of doubled data in the Confirmed Voters’ List (DPT) in several regions. The Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) recorded thousands of violations during the execution of 2018 Simultaneous Pilkada. These violations are collected from 8,751 Voting Points (TPS). “The violations are generally related to the supervision of the voting process. We recorded 1,792 suspected violations in 8,751 TPS,” said Bawaslu member Rahmat Bagja at Bawaslu Office, Jl M. H. Thamrin, Central Jakarta, Wednesday (27/6/2018).

The highest frequency of violation at 735 violations is late opening of TPS (later than 07.00 a.m.). The second most-frequent violation is the unavailability of aids for seeing disabled voters at 457 cases. Bagja further stated that another frequently found violation is 151 cases of damaged voting forms. Other violations found by Bawaslu includes the failure of the escort of disabled voters to sign the statement letter, as well as DPTs being posted on notice boards.

Another violation found is that some members of the Voting Assistance Group (KPPS) persuaded voters to vote a certain way in 40 cases; KPPS members who failed to say their oaths in 22 cases. There were also 29 cases of TPS being accessible, 10 cases of voter mobility, and 4 cases of intimidation at TPS 4.

Specific for voting violations, Bawaslu recommend that Repeat Voting (PSU) is done. Suspected violations with PSU recommendations were found in Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province, as 681 voting forms for Gubernatorial and Regent Elections were found to be pierced already.

Suspected violations occur not only in Papua, but also in Lebak Regency, Banten Province. A number of used voting forms were found, at the exact number of voters who came to vote. Furthermore, there were also suspected violations in Palangka Raya Province, as some voters did not use their voting rights; and in South Aceh Province, because some voters voted not in the TPS stipulated for them.

The Chairman of Bawaslu RI, Abhan Misbah,  exposed another violation wherein thousands of voting forms in Cirebon Regency were lost. KPU has now resolved this issue using reserve voting papers. “There were about 2,400 voting forms missing from 4 TPS in Plumbon District, Cirebon Regency,” Abhan said. However, he did not confirm whether the number of voting forms was sufficient to cover the number of voters in DPT or not.

Other than outright violations, another classic case that is frequently found during elections is doubled DPT data. The Riau Province Bawaslu discovered some oddities, i.e. the existence of doubled DPTs in a number of areas. This finding was reported by a member of Riau Bawaslu, Gema Wahyu Adinata, who also serves as Coordinator in the Organizations and Human Resources Division. “According to the double-check made by the Riau Regency and Municipal Monitoring Committee, we found 58,922 cases of doubled entry in the Voters’ List for the 2018 Pilgub,” Gema said. “The highest number of doubled Confirmed Voter data comes from Indragiri Hilir Regency in 22,715 cases, followed by Rokan Hilir in 11,849 cases, and Rokan Hulu in 9,089 cases,” he said.

In response to this issue, the Riau Bawaslu immediately contacted the Chairman of Riau Province KPU, Nurhamin to immediately identify and verify these suspected 58,922 DPT double entries. Even the Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo, was listed twice in the DPTs of two regions, i.e. Jakarta and Semarang, while he has been holding a Jakarta Citizen’s Identity Card for 3 years. Therefore, Tjahjo, alongside with Bawaslu Chairman Abhan, confirms to officials from the local KPPS that his C-6 voting form has not been abused.

Money politics also continued to color the 2018 Pilkada. Bawaslu RI member Ratna Dewi Pettalolo said that her agency will be processing suspected violations of parties promising money, a.k.a. money politics, during the 2018 Pilkada gag period from 24 to 26 June 2018. There is a total of 35 known cases that Bawaslu will be following up on.

Quick Count Victories
In the quick counts held by various survey institutions, some candidate pairs are shown to have the advantage. For your info, a quick count result is not the legitimate result of an election process, whether Pilkada, Pileg (legislative elections), or Pilpres. The quick count is just a quick summary method. Legitimate votes are only announced when KPU/KPUD validates the final count.

Please note that surveys do not count either. Many of Indonesia’s survey agencies work by order. For example, during the 2017 DKI Jakarta Pilkada. At the time, various survey agencies predicted that Ahok-Djarot will win one round of Jakarta Pilkada. In fact, Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno won the race with a 57.96% vote, while the opponent only obtained 42.04% votes.

Not only that. In this latest Pilkada, the candidate pair Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu of West Java could only get 10% of votes according to surveys. In fact, after the Pilkada, they shot up significantly by getting a 29% vote, and the voting count is still going on at the time this article is written. The same case happens to candidate pair Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah of Central Java. In various surveys, their top voting achievement is at 18%. However, their persistence in fighting the battle in the very pocket area of PDIP allowed them to steal more than 40% of the  votes.  Amazing!

Other examples: Ridwan Kamil, who partners up with Uu Rushanul Ulum, is in the lead with votes gained at 32% to 33.7%. Unexpectedly, his closest competitors are the Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu pair with votes gained at 28.5% to 29.5%. Meanwhile, the much-favored incumbent Vice Governor Deddy Mizwar, who partners up with the Regent of Purwakarta, Dein Mulyadi, only obtained 24.5% to 26.5%.

The Indonesian Elections Review Agency (LKPI) and Indonesia Development Monitoring (IDM) shows different results just for the West Java hasil Pilkada West Java quick count: they showed that Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu (“Asyik”) had the most votes, defeating Ridwan Kamil-Uu Ruzhunul Ulum (Rindu).

Director of LKPI Arifin Nur Cahyono said that his agency performed the quick count in 2,780 Voting Points (TPS) in West Java, with 100% of the data entered. His results are as follows: Ridwan Kamil-Uu Ruzhanul (30.41%), TB Hasanuddin-Anton Charliyan (11.17%), Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu (30.93%), Deddy Mizwar-Dein Mulyain (27.49%). He stated that LKPI’s quick count included the TPS in all the villages in West Java. Other agencies only checked down to municipalities, regency capitals, and towns.

IDM quick count in the West Java Pilkada used data from ± 3,573 TPS in West Java, with a margin of error of 1.6% and reliability rate of 95%. IDM’s Executive Director, Bin Firman Tresnadi, said that 100% of the data has been entered at 20.14 WIB. It took 57.3% of data from TPS in villages, and 42.7% in cities. The results are: Ridwan Kamil-Uu Ruzhanul Ulum (32.67%), TB Hasanuddin-Anton Charliyan (9.43), Sudrajat-Syaikhu (33.12%), and Deddy Mizwar-Dein Mulyain (24.78%).

Meanwhile, former Minister of Social Affairs, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, is said to have won the East Java Gubernatorial Elections in the 2018 Simultaneous Pilkada. In the quick counts from various survey agencies, Khofifah, who partners up with Emil Dardak, obtained 52% to 55% of votes. Meanwhile, Saifulllah Yusuf, who partners up with Puti Guntur Soekarno, obtained 44.5% to 47.6%.

Some survey agencies expect that incumbent Ganjar Pranowo will be reelected as the Governor of Central Java. These quick count agencies include among others SMRC, LSI, Indo Barometer, and Charta Politika. Ganjar Pranowo, who partners up with Taj Yasin, so far obtained 58% of votes, while their opponent, the Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah partnership, obtained about 42% of votes.

Meanwhile, in Sumatra, candidate pair Ein Rahmayadi-Musa Rajekshah are expected to have won the North Sumatra Gubernatorial Elections with a count of 58%- 60% according to several survey agencies. Their opponents, former Governor of Jakarta Djarot Syaiful Hidayat, who partners up with Sihar Sitorus, obtained about 40%-42%.

In Eastern Indonesia, quick counts from a number of agencies show that Nurdin Abdullah was elected as the Governor of South Sulawesi. Nurdin Abdullah, who partners up with Anin Sudirman Sulaiman, is in the lead a gain of about 42%. Below them are candidate pairs Nurdin Halid-Abdul Aziz Qahhar Mudzakkar with about 29%, Ichsan Yasin Limpo-Anin Muzakkar with about 19%, and finally, Agus Arifin Numang-Tanri Bali Lamo at about 9%

In his analysis of quick count results for Central Java, Hendri Satrio consideres Ganjar Pranowo to have won because the people in the region do not consider corruption to be something extraordinary. This is because economic welfare is extremely important in the regions. Hendri specifically expressed his admiration for Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah, who could rival such a strong incumbent in such short a period. As in West Java, candidate pairs Sudrajat and Syaikhu could quickly defeat Deddy Mizwar and Dein Mulyadi. Hendri Satrio considered this is predictable, as PKS has an extremely militant support base. Such surprises have also occurred in 2008, wherein Agum Gumelar and Dani Setiawan were favored, but then defeated by Ahmad Heryawan. Meanwhile, Edy Rahmayadi’s victory in North Sumatra has been predicted from the start, since incumbent Tengku Erry Nurain did not apply and Djarot Saiful Hidayat is an absolute unknown in North Sumatra.

For East Java, wherein Khofifah has the advantage over Gus Ipul, who has served as Deputy Governor for two periods, Hendri Satrio believes this is related with Jokowi’s order to ensure Khofifah’s victory. “We need to find out whether or not this is true. If it were true, the State illegally assisted Khofifah. A survey carried out by Kedai KOPI contains an interesting variable why the people of East Java elected her: they pity Khofifah because she has submitted herself for candidacy but failed both times,” he said.

In South Sulawesi, Nurdin Abdullah won because of his extraordinary achievements at the party, and because his brother is a great figure as well. However, it is interesting that in Makassar, the empty ballot prevails against sole candidates Munafri Arifuddin-Anin Rahmatika Dewi (Appi-Cicu).

Titi Anggraini believes that Ganjar was advantaged by the fact that the majority of Central Java does not believe that the PDIP cadre was ever involved in a corruption case – especially since during his tenure of leading Central Java, performance was better than that of the previous leader. “Therefore, it is naturally harder to face off an incumbent, because they already have consolidated their position within the 5 years of their tenure,” she said.

Siti Zuhro views the quick count of Central Java Pilkada, with Ganjar’s victory, shows that the people are still permissive about corruption. Corruption and/or bribery has always been a tradition for them. Democracy is still unable to introduce values and socialize them deeply into society. Democracy should be supported by the most important value: integrity. A candidate should not be indicted for law violations and ethical violations, as they are to serve as leaders and role models.

The people are not there yet: in general, our society is still very much communal: they are un-individualistic and permissive. We do not have the unity to eradicate, or at least set straight, the bad traditions and values that should serve as basis in public service. There are people who take care of this country, whether in national, provincial, regency, or municipality level etc.. It should be as President Jokowi said: mental resolution is a necessity. The people should be thought that they must keep their honor, that legal violations are not only cruel, but also criminal.

Extraordinary things also occur in North Sumatra. The assumption that a Javanese émigré like Djarot would win if he goes to an area with a lot of Javanese descent has been broken. It turns out that North Sumatran voters prefer a stricter type of leadership, as they themselves are more open and rougher. Furthermore, Edy Rahmayadi is a son of the soil. “Other than integrity and leadership, politics is about convincing people. Ganjar is better at convincing people as a stage master, meanwhile Sudirman Said is not used to being under the spotlight. However, even though Mr. Edy is not showy, but he has a very convincing stature. Politics must be convincing and promising,” Siti said.

In East Java, Khofifah Indar Parawansa lead over Gus Ipul. Gus Ipul was the Deputy Governor, but he was not Governor. The Governor was in Khofifah’s bloc. Sukarwo or Pakde Karwo (Pakde is uncle in Javanese) is a force to reckon with in East Java. When his party, the Democrat Party, supports Khofifah, Pakde Karwo is bound to support her whether he wants to or not. Aside from Pakde Karwo’s support, Khofifah has amazing competence and capacity, and she also had the support of Emil Dardak’s persuasion skills. Therefore, this candidate pair is more promising and convincing than Gus Ipul in various debates, both in interviews and when asked to explain their programs.

In South Sulawesi, Nurdin Abdullah won over Nurdin Halid. This is because the people compared Nurdin Halid’s achievement with those of Nurdin Abdullah. Nurdin Abdullah’s regional leadership is very much acknowledged, but Nurdin Halid only has some small achievements at Golkar Party. Furthermore, Nurdin Halid has been involved in several cases. The people prefer concrete evidence.

The “Prabowo Endorsement”
The achievement of candidate pairs Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu in West Java and Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah in Central Java is a surprise to the public. Various survey agencies show that the results obtained by candidate pairs Ridwan Kamil-Uu Ruzhanul Ulum and Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu only differed 2.5%. This means that Ridwan Kamil’s claimed victory today must be verified later in the real count from KPUD West Java, which will be the definite statement of who will become the Governor and Vice Governor of 2018-2023.

This thin margin has occurred in West Java and East Java before. In 2008, East Java Governor and Vice Governor candidate pair Khofifah Indar Parawansa-Mudjiono (Kaji) have surprisingly turned over the predictions made by observers and survey agencies in the second round of East Java Pilkada. According to the quick counts from a number of survey agencies, votes gained by Khofifah overcame the Soekarwo-Saifullah Yusuf (Karsa) votes, even at a small margin. What happened in West Java also occurred in 2013, when Rieke Diah Pitaloka from PDI-P won on the Quick Count results, but upon release of the Real Count Ahmad Heryawan won the local election.

According to the quick count of Lingkaran Survei Indonesia-LSI, the #1 candidate pair obtained 50.44% votes, or 0.88% more than Karsa at 49.56%. The quick count results from Lingkaran Survei Indonesia show that the Kaji candidate pair obtained 50.76% of votes, or 1.52% more than the Karsa pair at 49.24%. Nusantara survey agency also recorded that Kaji obtained 50.71% of votes and Karsa 49.29% of votes, a difference of 1.42%. The Policy and Development Review Center (Puskaptis) recorded that Kaji gained 50.83% votes and Karsa 49.17%, or a difference of 1.66%. Pakde Karwo-Gus Ipul has even congratulated Khofifah, and her team have also knelt to the ground in the grace to God to celebrate their victory.

However, the situation reversed itself: the summary from KPUD East Java placed Pakde Karwo as the winner with a very slight margin. Khofifah sued, citing “structured and massive fraud”. The charges were accepted, and the Gubernatorial Elections (Pilgub) had to be repeated for the part of Madura. Khofifah remained to lose.

“In response to the results of the quick count, we believe that it is not yet final,” Sudrajat said at the quick count monitoring post at Grand Preanger Hotel, Jalan Asia Afrika, Bandung, Wednesday (27/6/2018). He said that there are 75,000 TPS in West Java, and the current quick count (taken out of 2000 TPS sampling) results are categorically not the final result of the West Java Pilgub. “The quick count results do not represent the actual situation. Nobody should claim victory according to quick count alone,” he stated firmly. “We pray, we remain humble, we believe that we are on the righteous path, we uphold the truth,” he said.

Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah has also obtained phenomenal results in Central Java. They put up a strong fight against the incumbent and obtained a quick count of 42% votes.

Candidate Governor of Central Java, Sudirman Said, said that there are indications of violations in the Pilgub of Central Java 2018. Therefore, his campaign team and volunteers are asked to collect valid data for these indications. “There are violations here and there in our documentation. Therefore, we support our team and volunteers in the field to work hard and prepare the best documentation for all evidence,” Sudirman Said stated in a press conference in Grasia Hotel, Semarang, Wednesday (27/6/2018).

He believes that the results of the quick count of a number of survey agencies are not strong enough to serve as reference, as there are several other steps towards final vote counts: TPS, district, regency/municipality, and finally provincial KPU. “We respect the entire process, we are waiting for it to be absolutely completed. We and our team and Miss Ida are still waiting for the official statement from KPU Central Java,” said the former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM).

Sudirman said that the 1,000 members of the advocacy team who support him also still continues to guard the process of vote counting until KPU statement. “I underline that volunteer participation has been exceptional. The Party has been working hard, so that even we who have very limited resources got a lot of help from the volunteers. No matter what the score is, that’s due to the volunteers’ hard work. We are making this an important lesson in the democratic process for us in the future,” he said.

Siti Zuhro appreciates Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu’s exceptional achievement in West Java and Sudirman Said-Ida Fauziah’s in Central Java. “Sudirman Said (SS) had a slight margin in the quick count. I find this exceptional, because SS is not a person who has been present for a long time, he is a newcomer but he gained 45% of votes, that’s amazing. He worked hard to reassure the people, who are traditionally PDIP voters and affiliates.

SS was able to break these bariers and gained 45% of votes. 5-10% of votes is to be expected, but 45% is amazing. That means he has successfully convinced such staunch traditional voters, that’s amazing. This is because SS and Miss Ida Fauziah have great credibility – their integrity has not been contaminated or stigmatized, and they are known to be part of the element who is strongly against corruption.

SS may not be a stage presence, but he is a working man as shown in his programs. He has not spent too much time positioning himself in Central Java because he spent more time at the national stage more often. This is amazing, because in such a short time he managed to convince the audience in the Bull’s homebase. Ganjar should not have won simply in the 50% level, but if he is truly was that something he would be winning in the 80% level, like Tri Rismaharini in Surabaya or Anas in Banyuwangi who won landslide victories. This shows that the people in Central Java actually have their own doubts, so that they don’t give all their votes for Ganjar,” she said.

“The mass in West Java is the political base of PKS, who works with a very measured and strongly potential stelsel (land/residential-based) system, so it’s difficult to sway. Again, PKS is not a large party, but it can get Aher all the way to rule for two periods, that’s amazing. That’s one of the first things that I said on a TV show nearing the 2018 Pilkada, especially if Mr. Aher throws his hat in – the campaign team would have a great success and there is a large possibility of winning. I believe that PKS still has a massive mass basis, but Sudradjat is an absolute newcomer – he was never known as any regional head whatsoever. He’s been in the army forever, therefore it is unexpected that he made it to 2nd place. A lot of people said that he would be in the tail end, but from the start I said that there is a possibility for him to win the game. Even getting to 2nd place is amazing. Again, it’s all about integrity and the support of PKS with its mass basis,” Siti Zuhro said.

The quick count of a number of survey agencies show that the Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu (Asyik) candidate pair has become the runner-up in the 2018 West Java Pilgub. LSI observers Denny J. A. and Adjie Alfaraby believes that the increase of the votes gained by these candidate pairs is affected by the figure of Prabowo Subianto. “It’s amazingly huge – from the experience during the 2014 Presidential Elections (Pilpres) there (West Java), Prabowo won against Jokowi. Surveys show that Prabowo’s loyal supporters would also support whoever he supports,” Adjie said to journalists at LSI’s office, Rawamangun, East Jakarta, Wednesday (27/6/2018). “So we often see how the Asyik candidate pair frequently expressed their closeness with Prabowo, they want to underscore that they are his selected ones. For example, they often show up in debates wearing the “ganti presiden 2019” (“change the president in 2019”) shirts,” he said.

Even though Asyik lost out to candidate pair Ridwan Kamil-Uu Ruzhanul Ulum, Adjie said that Prabowo still cuts a grand figure in West Java. Asyik’s vote earnings will not affect Prabowo’s position in West Java. “Even though we lost, we can still say that Prabowo is still quite strong in West Java. They are people whom Prabowo submitted, it’s not Prabowo himself who went forward. When Prabowo steps up, his influence remains strong,” he said.

Furthermore, Adjie stated that Prabowo’s personal presence in Central Java Pilgub is extremely strong. Candidate pair Sudirman-Ida Fauziyah, who lost in various surveys, can shorten quite a distance from their opponents, Ganjar Pranowo-Taj Yasin. “We can also see how in Central Java, some surveys show that Sudirman Said lags far behind, but he managed to cut off the final distance to several percent, while Central Java is a PDIP basis and Ganjar is the incumbent,” he said.

The Director of Survei and Polling Indonesia (SPIN), Igor Dirgantara, held a similar opinion. He believes that the popularity of Gerindra Party’s General Chairman, Prabowo Subianto, leveraged the electability of candidate pair Sudrajat-Ahmad Syaikhu (Asyik) in West Java Pilkada 2018. In fact, Prabowo’s influence is deemed to be strong enough to pull in support to the Asyik candidate pair. “According to SPIN survey results, Prabowo’s electability (37.1%) is still higher than Jokowi’s (30.5%) in West Java. Prabowo’s advantage is reflected in his victory in West Java Province as voting fields during 2014 Pilpres,” he said.

Igor believes that the doctrine of electing leaders as part of a religious action in PKS, plus the effectiveness of the Gerindra, PKS, and PAN political machine can sweep undecided voters and swing voters clean during Election Day proper. “There is a demonstration effect – the victory of Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno, also supported by Gerindra-PKS-PAN in DKI Jakarta Pilkada 2017, showed a tendency for West Javanese to cast their votes in the same pool, especially in regions close to Jakarta, such as Depok, Bekasi, and Bogor,” he said.

On the other hand, the Asyik candidate pair can also be seen as brave in their attempt to achieve victory in West Java with the victory Prabowo Subianto in 2019 Pilpres with the slogan “2018 Asyik Menang, 2019 Ganti Presiden” (“2018 Asyik Wins, 2019 President Changes”). They even proudly spread out their “Change Presidents” shirts during the West Java Pilkada debates. ”The other pairs are divided – some are supported by Government-supporting parties who want to maintain the power status quo ,” he said.

Igor said that the controversy behind the appointment of Commissioner General Iriawan as Ad interim Governor of West Java will cause polemics and suspicion among the public in relation with the neutrality of Pilkada. According to him, it is possible that it is caused by the panic of those in power because candidate pair Asyik does not support President Joko Widodo for the 2019 presidential election so that Iriawan is still appointed, even though it might be a violation and a furor occurs. “This might have become ammunition for those in power to push certain candidates up. On the contrary, it might even have a contrary effect, even a blunder, as officials’ behavior is more predictable that voter behavior,” he said.

The “nyunda, nyakolah, dan nyantri” (“being Sundanese, being well-educated, of strong Islamic values”) factor is essential for the people West Java in electing their leaders. Igor believes that these three factors are deeply sublimated in Sudrajat as a Sumedang native, with military background and excellent education. “This is the same with Syaikhu, who hails from Cirebon, is an ustadz (religious teacher), and a bureaucrat of far-seeing vision,” he said.

Regional Changes vs National Changes
A year nearing the 2019 Presidential Elections, many analyst said that the victory of any party in Pilkada will be an indication of future victory in the Pilpres, especially for victories in areas with large numbers of voters like Central Java, West Java and East Java.

Titi Anggraini believes that changes in the regions will also affect things at the national level. One of the things people are fighting for is influence over the voters, whether psychological or sociological. “Therefore, if they can convince voters by winning in Pilkada, they are conditioning for something: that the structure of their Party is a solid one and that they are ready to welcome 2019. Otherwise, it is true that the position as regional head influences the people that they can change the condition of many things within a year. If they have good performance, the paslon whom they support in 2019 Pilpres would gain a positive image. Therefore, I believe that the winning of Pilkada is related with the conditioning for 2019. For voters and parties, and the figure as “regional head” can be duplicated for supporters of presidential candidates. It would also build up electability for presidency in 2019,” he said.

Siti Zuhro, said that the 2018 Pilkada overlaps with the fact that the first simultaneous elections will be held in Indonesian history, i.e. that Pileg and Pilpres are to be held as one event. The 3rd Simultaneous Pilkada this year is to be used as reference in mapping the threshold and distribution of power in 2019 Elections.

Ray Rangkuti believes otherwise. He believes that it is irrelevant to consider the national map to be analogous with regional maps. For example, the rival parties in West Java are PDIP and Golkar. The situation of each region influences the issue. However, in East Java there is no problem for PDIP and PKS to create a coalition, because voters have different psychologies. Some parties with bad national performance can actually cooperate fairly well in regional context. On the other hand, parties with good national performance may have terrible local performance. This is interesting, as in general, the victory of certain parties does not cause any changes in the national context, as the candidates are generally old players. There may be some changes, but not as we expect. Such changes are natural problems, not by design or radical problems.

Arif Susanto has a similar opinion: victory in Pilkada does have its influence, but not significantly. The success of the Jakarta Pilkada becomes a benchmark for the opposing party coalition. However, so far there is no single coalition model that has the same solidity as the one in Jakarta, which is transferable to other regions. Even the coalition patterns in East Java are highly different from the coalition patterns in Jakarta and in other regions. The same coalition patterns can only stick in provinces such as West Java and North Sumatra. Otherwise, there are no figures that can serve as alternatives, because figure symbolism in Indonesian politics is very strong.

Direct Pilkada is expected to help generate a democratic climate. However, it must be noted that there are negative tendencies in the Pilkada process. Ray Rangkuti records the following 5 issues:

  • First, the power of Civil Court of Justice (PTUN) keeps on increasing. PTUN starts to have new roles in terms of the authority to handle disputes between Pilkada actors. Bawaslu may consider a paslon (to-be-Candidate) to be innocent, but PTUN might consider them to be guilty instead. Paslons should not be able to make direct complaints to PTUN, as this situation might cause Bawaslu to lose its place.
  • Secondly, tribal, race, religion (SARA) issues have also worsened. SARA politics generally happens when only two paslons are involved. It is used to obtain the people’s votes and overturn the situation by playing on their prejudice. SARA politics also occur when rivalry between paslons in the Pilkada is quite high. It also tends to occur in regions with non-muslim paslons.
  • Thirdly, dynastic politics still exists. In North Sumatra, an active mayoral candidate moved to a region where his parents used to be a Governor, and he also submitted himself as ia candidate in Pilkada. The return of dynastic politics gets further in remote regions such as Maluku and North Sumatra.
  • Fourthly, the involvement of the police in politics has become more phenomenal. If we allow it, our generation would lose more substance. The entry of the police in politics, such as M. Iriawan or Iwan Bule, who was appointed as the Acting Governor of West Java. This is contradictory, especially since the Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo seemed to be too forceful about it. Many groups consider this appointment to be related to the preparation made by PDIP for Iwan Bule to become Gubernatorial candidate in 2020. Administratively, involving the Army/Police in Pilkada is not right. It used to be the Army during SBY’s era, and now its the Police in Jokowi’s era.
  • Fifthly, there are more and more single-pair candidates around.

A Better Indonesia
Holding elections properly will generate leaders who are committed to the people’s welfare. In order to realize this, Titi Anggraini said that many factors must be considered, including the quality of the elected leadership as well as public supervision. “I see that there is more transparency in the openness era – community control has strengthened. This also contributes to the future of the regions,” she said.

Titi further wishes that the 2018 Pilkada becomes the right moment for voters to get better regional leadership. Through direct Pilkada, we can get the leaders with the least negative impact for the regions. Voters would vote for leaders who consistently fight for the people’s interest. The year 2018 is a reflection of the Party’s agenda for the people. Therefore, we should all make it a dignified one. (Dessy, Ekawati)