Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This just in . . . and we told you so!

Another colleague just sent me this from Khabar Southeast Asia News:

Bylaw on non-Muslims in Aceh not enforceable: experts
Islamic criminal codes go further than the laws they are meant to implement, professor says.

By Nurdin Hasan
April 29, 2014
A clause in Aceh's new Islamic criminal procedural codes that could see non-Muslims tried in Sharia Court cannot be enforced, some legal experts in the province say.
Aceh's Regional House of Representatives (DPRA) approved the criminal codes – the Qanun Hukum Acara Jinayat (QHAJ) – in December, and they are currently undergoing review by the Interior Ministry in Jakarta, which has asked the local government for several clarifications.
One clause in the QHAJ says non-Muslims could be prosecuted under Sharia law in Aceh if they participate with Muslims in offences not regulated by Indonesian criminal law. But Saifuddin Bantasyah, a law professor at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, doesn't see how.
Criminal codes lay out procedures by which police, prosecutors and judges implement material law – in this case, four bylaws (Qanun Jinayat) regarding dress code, gambling, adultery and alcohol consumption. But these, in place in Aceh for ten years, apply only to Muslims, he said.
"When procedural law adds a clause that applies to non-Muslims, what is the legal basis for prosecution?" he told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Saifuddin cited a 2006 case in which three Christians and a Muslim involved in a gambling incident were brought to Sharia Court in Banda Aceh.
"During the trial, the judge asked the three Christians if they were aware of the function of the Sharia Court. They said no. Then, the judge explained that Sharia Court is only for prosecuting Muslims," Saifuddin said.
They were given the option of converting to Islam but declined. "The judge ruled that Sharia Court had no jurisdiction or authority to proceed with the case," Saifuddin said.
In such a case, non-Muslims could be prosecuted under Indonesian criminal law for disturbing public order, he added.
Aceh Sharia Court Vice Chairman Jamil Ibrahim said the four Qanuns apply only to Muslims, although a non-Muslim may choose to be tried in Sharia Court.
He said the controversial article in the QHAJ will confuse Sharia Court judges because non-Muslims, absent their consent, are outside the Court's jurisdiction.
"Maybe later another Qanun will be made specifically to address these issues," he said.
Zulfikar Muhammad, executive director of the Aceh Human Rights Nongovernmental Organization Coalition (Koalisi NGO HAM), expressed regret that local legislators included the controversial clause in the QHAJ after civil society activists campaigned against it.
"This is a form of discrimination against non-Muslims by the Aceh parliament," he said, urging the Interior Ministry to cancel the clause.
Activists have already sent a letter advocating just that; if it is not heeded, they will request a judicial review by the Supreme Court, he said.

Unfortunately, this focus on non-Muslims seems to bypass the larger issue of the unfairness and repressive nature of the application of Sharia law to subjective views of “morals,” at the expense of women and the province’s weakest citizens.  It’s the entire edict in itself that I hope will get shot down by the Jakarta legislature.  After everyone’s confirmed, we’ll see what they’re made of.  It’s still very much a political game, certainly not guided by religion, spirituality, or one of the Pancasila principles of “fairness and justice.” 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Upcoming interview: Roeslan Abdulgani's daughter talks about her father's legacy and the Indonesian State Philosophy

Our intrepid correspondent Wati is more than a source of on-the-ground political insight and juicy Indonesian gossip, although she’s too modest to admit it.  She’s recently been interviewed by the Jakarta Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency regarding the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, a concept raised by China and India in 1954, and based in part on the Indonesian principles of Pancasila first developed in 1945 by a group of then-president Sukarno’s advisors, including Wati’s father Roeslan Abdulgani, who was at that time the Indonesian Ambassador to the UN for the Sukarno government.

Pak Roeslan was secretary general to the 1955 historic Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, at which the five principles of Pancasila were modified and incorporated into a statement of ten principles. The Bandung Conference “did more than any other meeting to form the idea that post-colonial states had something special to offer the world.”

Pak Roeslan died in June 2005.  “He was one of the last survivors of Indonesia's war for independence.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called him "a leader who never said bad things about others." Former President Suharto called him "a great man and leader who has given so much for the country he loves."

I’m going to post the interview as soon as it’s published but first I wanted to present a little primer on Pancasila and its cousin the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence so that you’ll have an idea of the historic magnitude of Pak Ruslan’s contributions. 

Wati has written a biography of her father called A Fading Dream: The Story of Roeslan Abdulgani and Indonesia (2003). (available on Amazon at

Liner Notes: This is the biography of Dr H Roeslan Abdulgani, who rose through Indonesia's political ranks to become one of the country's most important policy-makers, and a trusted aide to President Sukarno. It takes readers from the birth of Dr Roeslan in Surabaya in 1914 and his high school political days, through his appointments as Secretary General and then Minister of Foreign Affairs, to his tenure as Deputy Prime Minister of Information, where he was instrumental in helping President Sukarno develop and propagate the ideas of "Guided Democracy" - and beyond.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, were signed in Peking in 1954 and enunciated in the preamble to the "Agreement on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India. This agreement stated the five principles as:
  1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  2. Mutual non-aggression.
  3. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
  4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
  5. Peaceful co-existence.
An underlying assumption of the Five Principles was that newly independent states after decolonization would be able to develop a new and more principled approach to international relations. Indian Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru said of them, "If these principles were recognized in the mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war."

It has been suggested that the five principles had partly originated as the Indonesian state philosophy, or Pancasila-- literally translated as “Five Principles. ”

In 1945, future President Sukarno presented a fusion of socialism, nationalism and monotheism to Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia, BPUPKI  (the Investigating Committee for the Preparation of Independence). In their original form and order, with Pak Roeslan as one of the developers, the five principles were:
  1. nationalism
  2. justice and humanity
  3. representative democracy with an equal vote for each individual regardless of ethnicity
  4. Social Welfare
  5. monotheism and religiosity

 These five principles were eventually rearranged in the following order:
1.     the belief in the divinity of God
2.     justice and humanity
3.     the unity of Indonesia
4.     Representative Democracy
5.     Social justice

“Sukarno thus helped solve the conflict between Muslims, nationalists and Christians.”

With a lot of help from his advisors.

The 1945 Indonesian Constitution set forth Pancasila as “the embodiment of basic principles of an independent Indonesian state,” although the principle of the belief in the “all-oneness of God” did promote the ratifiers to change some language that promoted religious freedom, and that gives the incoming President the right to swear-in to office via a “promise,” not mentioning God at all.  Pak Roeslan was one of Sukarno’s advisors during this alteration and development process.

Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was a strong supporter of Pancasila. However, “after initially being careful not to offend sensitivities of Muslim scholars who feared Pancasila might develop into a quasi-religious cult, Suharto secured a parliamentary resolution in 1983 which obliged all organisations in Indonesia to adhere to Pancasila as a basic principle. He also instituted a Pancasila indoctrination program (Penataran P4) that all Indonesians, from primary school students to office workers, had to regularly attend. In practice, however, the vagueness of Pancasila was exploited by Suharto's government to justify their actions and to condemn their opponents as "anti-Pancasila". [emphasis added.]

Sigh. And so it began.

But now you are prepared for Wati’s interview, which promises to be as interesting and informative as she is.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

PA intimidation at the polls: opposing party sour grapes, or the unfortunate truth?

I love an overview. And IPAC, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, has come up with a corker: “Aceh’s Elections: A Do-it-yourself Analysis,” published on March 31, 2014.

If you’re still confused about who’s who, this document should help.

Granted, it’s a little like closing the barn door after the water buffalo has left, but reading this document in the context of what we know, or what is being reported, about election violence and fraud in certain dapil (voting districts), the not-yet-finalized reality is bearing out the assumptions made in the report. (National election results will be final May 9th.)

Plus, there is a handy fill-in-the-blank monitoring chart in the Appendix that lets you “compare the 2014 results to the legislative elections in 2009 and the gubernatorial election in 2012 in terms of the strength of Partai Aceh in each district.”

Yesterday I posted a press release from PNA outlining abuses and election fraud committed by Partai Aceh/PA [who are being courted by the Gerinda Party for support in the July presidential election]. Wanting to get both sides of the story, I went searching for similar reports, interviews or public statements made by PA members regarding their PNA opposition.  I could find very little.  People in Aceh also told me that it was common knowledge  that it was PA who “controlled” the elections (and the province) and they were doing everything they could to keep it that way, from intimidation to voter interference.  One citizen told me, “Everyone saw what was happening during the election with Partai Aceh, but nobody wanted to report it because of fear and the safety of themselves and their families. In some districts the number of abstentions was increased too. My personal opinion, this election is worse than last election period in Aceh. Fraud and intimidation was marked by PA.” 

This combined with the Probowa/Sharia love-fest does not bode well for the province. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

PNA Press Release Outlines Election Fraud and Corruption, and advocates for rejection of voting results

A friend who’s head of the Political and Peace Division of the Aceh National Party (Partai Nasional Aceh /PNA) forwarded me and some mutual colleagues a translation of PNA’s Press Release that states the reasons why it refuses to accept the result of the April 9th Legislative Election.

He writes, “Thanking you in advance for any action you can take in this matter towards improving the chances of successful democratization process in this post-conflict area where the peace process is supposed to be a model of successful post-conflict management.”

And here it is [with minor grammar edits].  Please read and share it.


The Partai Nasional Aceh (PNA) is a local party formed in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed in Helsinki on August 15 2005 that ended the 30 year bloody conflict. It was formed by ex-GAM combatants, former peace negotiators in Helsinki, human rights/humanitarian/socio-political and women activists, intellectuals, religious leaders, and traders. It has continually tried to participate in the democratic political process within the frame of the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia in polite, civilized practices and law and order adherence at all times. However, during the period of this so-called “fiesta of democracy” in Aceh--the legislative election of April 9 2014-- this patient and restrained attitude was responded to with intimidation, oppression, cheating, atrocities and even assassinations by one of its local rival parties, aided by the machinery and leadership of the local government of Aceh and by the local electoral commission itself.

From the early days of its formation two years ago up to the days of the votes counting, PNA has registered all sorts of cheating and violent actions perpetrated against it by officials of the rival political party as well as by the electoral commission officers, including such acts as:

1. Murders of one of the ex-regional commanders of GAM who was at the forefront of the formation of the party, of a school teacher who had just announced his candidacy for the Aceh house of representatives (DPRA), of a campaigner who was lynched to death while drinking coffee at a well-known café in the middle of capital city of North Aceh, and of another while driving home in his car.  A female candidate had parked her car in the garage of her house when it was burnt down. Several other cars belonging to party campaigners were completely wrecked. Attempted arsons on offices and houses belonging to party official are common incidents. Such incidents continued till the vote counting days.

2. Intimidation of witnesses of PNA at vote counting centers, where the Party in power [PA, Partai Aceh] has strong influence, made it impossible for these witnesses to function and about a hundred of them had to resign, fearing the safety not only of themselves but also of their families;

3.  Intimidation and violence have been carried out systematically by the Party in power by instructing voters at the polling stations to vote for the party. Video recordings are available showing a truck painted with the colors of this party parked at a polling center and polling officials directing voters where to punch [their voting card]. When a reporter and cameraman working for a major British television station asked the policeman guarding the gate to the center why he allowed the car to be parked there, the policeman said: “They are on patrol.”  Upon being asked  about officials directing voters where to punch he said: “He was just trying to help.” Incidents like this are common, only not that many have been recorded by independent reporters.

4. KIP (Independent Electoral Commission) officials from the District/Town Councils all the way up to the Provincial levels, as well as staff carrying out various duties at the polling centers such as the PPK, PPS and the KPPS have been appointed by the Party in power through the DPRA (Aceh Parliament) controlled by the Partai Aceh, and some of them are openly members of the said party. Demands by other parties, local and national, that this appointment be done by the Central Electoral Commission, were ignored.

5. The mandates of the Electoral Control Commissions of Bawaslu and Panwas are deliberately not sanctioned by the Aceh Government, making them unable to function properly, especially when their assigned budgets and operational facilities were withdrawn by the Aceh Government.

6. The voting day itself was colored by massive fraud, whereby KPPS officials openly directed voters where to punch on the ballot papers. Witnesses could not function fully as pointed out above due to intimidation. Counting of votes and later the recapitulations processes were carried out behind closed doors, with the Government saying that these these processes are an internal matter of the government and that the public and the press would be given the official tallies when they were ready. On several occasions there were power outages at the centers, and the counting process was continued with light provided by small handheld flashlights. As vote counting continued non-stop all day and all night, many witnesses were too tired to continue and abandoned their posts. The electoral commission should have informed the participating parties of this possibility so that shift teams of witnesses could be arranged in advance.

7. The Aceh government’s partiality in favor of the Party in power at all levels of the province down to the sub-districts is openly practiced and well documented, including the use of public funds and facilities for the purpose of campaigning, issuing threats of dismissals to civil servants who would fail to carry out instruction to support the candidates of the Party in power, and awarding governmental cash grants for mosques and for village heads in front of the polling centers when people are queuing to vote.

8. Money politics are practiced not only in the form of donating campaign funds without proper documentation but paying cash to voters through village heads in what is known as “dawn attacks.”  

Based on the cited grave violations of all electoral rules cited above, the Aceh National Party does hereby state categorically and firmly that:

-- WE REJECT THE “PEMILU 2014” ELECTION, including all its results

-- WE WILL NO LONGER PARTICIPATE in future Pemilu electoral stages

-- We shall take all other possible and necessary actions to fight for the political rights and dignity of the Acehnese people

-- We shall conduct resistant actions and instruct all of PNA’s regional leaderships, cadres, members and those who sympathize with the Party to conduct actions of resistance at all levels as parts of our self-defense measures against tyrannical oppression.

We do hereby call on and urge all our pro-democracy friends and the media to help distribute this public statement as widely as possible, and we thank all in advance.

Banda Aceh, 19 April 2014

Executive Chairman

Here we go again . . .

The Diplomat had some creepy and not unexpected news last week.

Aceh’s Sharia Police Get Extended Powers
--Detention centers are being prepared to process those who fall foul of religious codes.
By Rob Yates
April 18, 2014

In line with laws passed in December that extended the Aceh Sharia Police’s power to detain suspects, local authorities in Indonesia’s semi-autonomous region have recently been preparing detention centers to process those who violate provincial religious codes. Zulkarnain, head of the Sharia Police, or Wilayatul Hisbah (Wi-Ha) as they are known, told The Jakarta Globe on Wednesday that he hoped these centers would soon be prepared “in all 23 districts and towns across Aceh.”
The Wi-Ha are a familiar presence in Indonesia’s northernmost region. Following the Special Autonomy Law in 2001, Aceh’s provincial legislature enacted a series of qanun, or local laws, governing the implementation of Sharia. Since then, the enforcement of these qanun has largely been carried out by the Wi-Ha, who have functioned alongside the national police force for over a decade.
Although the extent of the Wi-Ha’s legal authority during its history has, at times, seemed less than clear to members of the public, legislative developments over the past five years point towards an extension of jurisdiction, as well as a general increase in the number of Sharia-related offences being introduced.

 “Jurisdiction” is a funny thing in Indonesia.  Nowhere is it clearer than in Aceh that even though Sharia 2.0 violates the Indonesian Constitution, the Administration is allowing Acehnese authorities their pretend independence . . . as long as it doesn’t interfere with either the mainland or economic prosperity/public relations.  And I will bet that if the young woman from Jakarta who was arrested last week at a coffee shop and accused of being a sex worker makes any type of a national fuss, there will be a lot of post-election back-pedaling from the veil-and-stoning crowd.

 Decreed punishments for such violations also seem to have grown more severe, although their implementation is, in many cases, not carried out.

In April 2009, two new and controversial qanun were passed, reiterating existing Sharia prohibitions, enhancing some penalties, and introducing an array of new offences. The new laws authorized punishments that included up to 60 lashes for “intimacy,” up to 100 for engaging in homosexual conduct, and death by stoning for marital adultery.

These laws still stand today [because Zaini, a PA member and Irwando foe who signed off on them, is still governor] and, with the new Qanun Jinayat passed on December 13 last year, the Wi-Ha have new powers with which to enforce them. Previously, the Wi-Ha could only search and detain suspects briefly. After having been “educated” about Sharia principles, a process notoriously vague in its phrasing, perceived offenders had to be released if the official police had not been involved. Now, the Wi-Ha can detain suspects for up to 30 days prior to a legal trial. This period can then be extended for a further 30 days should the awaited trial be delayed. Zulkarnain has also indicated that those awaiting trial could be transferred to regular jails should the detention centers become overcrowded.
[I am not so sure that the “law” has changed regarding this.  Many believe it is just an emboldened political move on the part of PA, encouraged by Probowa in return for support in the presidential election.

Gosh, this is so slimy I think I need an antimicrobial sponge bath.]

What is the significance of these new developments? The general implementation of Sharia is not necessarily controversial for many Acehnese. Despite anger voiced by some of the younger generation at recent restrictions on clothing and public intimacy between unmarried couples, and despite some viewing the Wi-Ha as a public nuisance, many individuals support the religious principles that underlie Aceh’s strict legislature.
[As noted in previous posts, to say you are anti-Sharia is to say you are against Islam. No one will say that. It’s a version of “Think about the children,” and then whatever harebrained scheme you promote will get frightened and tacit approval. ]  However, international observers and human rights groups in the past have pointed towards the scope for abuse and selective implementation that these laws can afford.
A year after the two controversial qanun of 2009, Human Rights Watch published a report condemning the manner in which the Wi-Ha had been enforcing this legislation, stating:
“Human Rights Watch takes no position on Sharia law per se, which supporters say is a complete system of guidance on all matters in life, or on the provisions that regulate the internal workings of Islam. However, the two laws singled out in the report are applied abusively and violate both Indonesian constitutional protections and international human rights law.”
The report also contained testimony from “suspects” who had undergone physical and sexual abuse from Wi-Ha officials, [also known as the Morality Police—how about that!] as well as attacks from members of the local community upholding and encouraged by the 2009 codes. One female even claimed to have been raped by the Sharia police who arrested her before being released the next morning. [This is not an uncommon story.]
Given the criticism and human rights concerns surrounding the Sharia laws of 2009, some observers and residents may regard Wi-Ha’s recent extension of power with trepidation. On Tuesday, on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, a Wi-Ha raid cracking down on dress-code violations briefly detained 59 people. Zulkarnain said they included 54 women found to be wearing “tight shirts” in public and five men in shorts, adding:
“They were only advised not to repeat their offence and were told that in future, if they’re caught again in another raid, they face the possibility of being taken into custody.”

[If you ever wondered why Aceh has no public funds for programs like job creation, food for hungry kids, or school supplies, it’s because all their resources are now going towards rounding up women in tight shirts. ]

Although these suspects escaped prolonged detention, the gender imbalance shown in this single incident suggests that women may well find themselves disproportionately affected by the December ruling.  [And this is a surprise because . . . ?]
Human Rights Watch said that their 2010 report “details evidence that the laws are selectively enforced – rarely if ever applied to wealthy or politically-connected individuals.” It seems being male may also help one escape time in a new Wi-Ha detention center.  [They’re harder to sexually assault, for one. ]

Friday, April 18, 2014

A journalist visits Aceh Timur

I just received some photos of Australian journalist Michael Bachelard’s visit to Aceh Timur and his side trip to see the women’s cocoa farming association in Simpang Jernih subdistrict.  Although Michael was primarily in Aceh to speak to candidates and ex combatants about the upcoming elections and how they would affect the province, he and his assistant Runi made time to talk with the women and visit their farms. 

The cocoa trees are flowering now, despite a miserable drought which has finally let up—a bit.

They are quite beautiful!

Besides learning how the new “magic potion” hormone-based fertilizer provided by JMD had reduced potential damage from the recent drought by about 40%, Michael and Runi were able to talk to the village leader and ex-combatants in the community, for a true man-on-the-street (and in-the remote-jungle) perspective on how the government is doing regarding the provision of services for its rural population.

Meanwhile, the women have added seven new members to their group.  These are all from the village of Pante Kera, whose fields were completely destroyed by the 2006 flood and who will be starting from absolute scratch with seedlings, shade trees and organic fertilizer.  They’re eager to jump in, especially in the construction and establishment of the planned seedling nursery, which will be growing about 10,000 trees in Pante Kera alone, to reach the optimum cocoa-tree-per-hectare ratio and provide for replacements of old and tired trees (which usually stop producing after 15 years).

Another new development in cocoa-land is the petition by the first man to join the group.  The women, assisted by Robert, have been working on clear and detailed bylaws and rules that insure that if and when there are many men farmers in the Association, it will always have a woman at the programmatic and fiscal helm. JMD’s objective was always to help the entire subdistrict improve its economic status.  If they can assist the women develop a successful and inclusive association that provides a growing economic base to the entire region, and if the members of this association all work in agreement and cooperation, and it is known as being woman-managed, I think we will have created an important and precedent-setting model.  The palm oil cronies and the morality police will have no alternative but to acquiesce, and move over.

Partai Aceh (PA) leading in election vote tally . . . so far

The Jakarta Post’s March 10 “Election Watch” department posts “Good prospects for national
parties in Aceh elections,” with PA sewing up victories in the northeast districts, including Aceh Timur.  The region remains home to a majority of ex-GAM combatants and it was on this land that the majority of the conflict—and the death and destruction—happened.

The PA victory lines up with what our guys-on-the-street have been telling us, despite PNA’s protests to the contrary.  Which is sort of sad.  Even though the choice is really between sad and sadder, when it comes to PA vs PNA.

People who spoke to the Post’s reporter predicted a not-so-overwhelming victory by PA this year, as opposed to the 60% they had in the previous election “because many party cadres in legislative and executive positions have forgotten their supporters,” referring to the poor conditions of the party’s grassroots followers and “the appalling state of the road leading to Cinta Raja [Aceh Tamiang].”

The article also quotes political leaders as reporting that PNA now has the majority of support, and that “almost 70 percent of ex-GAM combatants in the KPA [Aceh Transition Committee] and Aceh Party had jumped ship to the PNA.”   As we know, one of the cofounders of PNA is former Governor Irwandi Yusuf, now PNA Consultative Assembly Chairman.

“Chairman of the Aceh Party in Aceh Tamiang, Sahar, said although many ex-GAM members had turned to the PNA, the Aceh Party had not lost its relevance and the two parties would not sever relations. ‘Despite the differences in our visions, we remain brothers and will later develop a legislative coalition,’ he said.”

Well, that’ll be something to see.

I don’t know whether our JMD folks are just hearing the bellicose bloviating of Aceh Party Chairman and Deputy Governor Muzakir Manaf or if current vote counts (which are still not final) are actually bearing this out, but apparently PA is now in the lead as far as legislative seats go.  In written statements, “Muzakir emphasized the word ‘victory’. According to him, if the party failed, “Aceh will return to political darkness, leaving only a stretch of land at the tip of Sumatra without meaning and dignity.”   
And also without stoning, caning, or mandatory jilbabs.  Go figure.

See the full article at:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Legislative election results . . . sort of

The Wall Street Journal’s election blog gives a helpful real-time account of the election and its immediate aftermath, in which the counting and recounting will continue for quite a while, it’s believed.

As of about 6:30am the day after polls closed, here is where we stand:

Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie congratulated the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) [Jokowi] on his official Twitter account for leading the current quick count results.
“For the quick count results of the legislative elections that put PDI-P in the first place, and Golkar in the second, I congratulate PDI-P,” his tweet reads.
Finishing in second place is not a loss for the Golkar Party, he said, for there is no winning or losing for the Golkar Party.

This is a bit of a comeback for PDI-P, which had a poor showing early on and left presidential hopeful and frontrunner  Jokowi nervous.  He was falling far short of the 20% of party votes needed to be automatically nominated for president; he would have had to curry favor with the many other smaller parties to throw their support behind him—an unappetizing proposition especially in this contentious election year.

“Latest quick counts put PDI-P in the lead as expected but still with far less a percentage of the vote than expected. Keep following us on Southeast Asia Realtime as Indonesia moves toward the presidential election in July.
  1. PDI-P:           19%
  2. Golkar:         14%-15%
  3. Gerindra:    12%”

Gerinda, as you will recall, is the party of Probowa. In a word: Yikes!
Also, news outlets are reporting that Islamist parties are faring better than expected over more pluralist parties.

“Jokowi has offered little clue to his policies but his popularity rests heavily on his no-nonsense style in running the capital, demanding his bureaucrats perform their jobs properly and by focusing many policies on improving the lives of ordinary Jakartans.” --Reuters

Read the New York Times’ April 9 article for a recap of the legislative election process and how it is really most noted not for the individuals who now hold those seats, but the percentage of seats each party wins, which indicates the strength of the presidential candidate’s chances in the July elections.