After poll defeat, Jakarta's Christian governor may escape jail

Indonesian social media users likened the election outcome to the shock results of the United States presidential vote and the Brexit vote of past year. It came a day before Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to visit Indonesia and meet with Widodo on the third leg of an Asian Pacific tour that includes South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Few are also concerned about the 2019 presidential election.

Purnama was not elected governor, but moved up from the deputy governorship after then-governor Widodo was elected Indonesia's president in 2014.

More than 7 million people were eligible to vote, and thousands of police and military personnel were deployed to secure the 13,000-plus polling places.

Indonesians queue up give their votes at a makeshift polling station under a bridge during the runoff election in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The religiously charged campaign saw mass Islamist protests against the incumbent for allegedly insulting Islam.

Some voters may have been reluctant to vote for Purnama because of worries about "five more years of protests on the streets by Muslim hardliners", Loveard said in a telephone interview.

Voting began in Jakarta today, in the second round of the Indonesian capital's gubernatorial election after campaigning marked by sectarian and ethnic tensions.

Hundreds of members of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) rallied outside the court, chanting "not enough" after the prosecution made their request.

Initially, the prosecutors built their case against Ahok on the grounds that he insulted Islam by quoting Surah Al Maidah 51, a Quranic verse often used by certain Muslim conservative political groups to urge Muslims to vote only for political candidates who share the same faith. Baswedan told reporters that he is committed to maintaining the diversity of Jakarta and will emphasize social justice.

Opinion polls indicate that the race is too close to call, but whether Purnama wins or loses, he is due to reappear in a Jakarta court on Thursday for his ongoing blasphemy trial, which is due to end next month.

The Jakarta Post editorial board was brutal in its assessment of the campaign and what it had meant for Indonesia.

Instead, his competitor Anies Baswedan claimed a decisive landslide victory.

In a press conference, Purnama congratulated Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

Massive news buzz be it positive or negative in the world wide web and news media does not necessary turn into votes, at least for the the outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or fondly called as Ahok. "We hope that in the future everyone can forget the campaign period".

The blasphemy accusations followed statements Purnama made about the misinterpretation of the Koran while campaigning a year ago.

Losing the election may have been disappointing for Ahok, but he received some good news about his trial soon afterward.

"As long as there are no security issues, the election outcome should not significantly stall the reform programme of the national government, in our view", Citigroup said in a note.

  • Leroy Wright