JAKARTA – Incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has won the first round of gubernatorial elections held on Wednesday after a four-month campaign.
According to unofficial results at press time, Basuki – better known as Ahok – led the race with 42% of the votes, followed closely by former education and culture minister Anies Baswedan who bagged 39%.
Meanwhile, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono only received about 17% of the votes.
Agus is the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
As no candidate has received the minimum 50% of the votes, there will be a second round of polls.
This means that Ahok’s victory is not final as he will face Anies again, with the second round of polls likely to be held in April.
Things will be more difficult for Ahok in the run-off as the Muslim votes that went to Agus are expected to swing to Anies.
Ahok, who is a Christian, is currently under trial for blasphemy charges over a viral video showing a speech he gave in the Thousand Islands regency in September 2016.
During the speech, Ahok referenced a Quranic verse, Al-Maidah 51, and told attendees they shouldn’t fall for claims by religious leaders who use the verse to justify why Muslims should not be led by non-Muslims.
An edited version of the video – which went viral the following month – omitted several words, and this made it seem as if Ahok was suggesting that the verse itself was misleading, instead of the religious figures he was referring to.
The video has proved to be the most damaging attack on his closely-watched re-election bid, which is reflective of the sentiments of hardliner Muslims against Jakarta’s more religious moderates.
Jakarta’s gubernatorial election has become the most-talked about among all the simultaneous regional elections currently ongoing in Indonesia due to the blasphemy case against Ahok.