08 July 2009
Presidential Election -- Indonesia
The "Quick Count" numbers are suggesting that the ticket of the incumbent president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his running mate, Boediono, are going to win the election outright. The current numbers suggest that a September 2009 run-off will not be necessary.
The Indonesian Survey Institute (Lembaga Survei Indonesia / LSI) has SBY / Boediono running at 60.25%. Megawati / Prabowo are trailing in a distant second on 27.44%, and the incumbent vice president, Kalla, and his running mate, Wiranto, are trailing in a very distant third with a mere 12.31% (as of 17.20 Indonesian West Time). The other survey agencies are indicating that they have similar numbers based on their respective polling.
The site "Indonesia Memilih", as produced by Kompas has lots of good coverage and continual Quick Count updates. It is in Indonesian, but the Quick Count numbers are easy enough to follow for those with an interest in this presidential election but limited or no Indonesian language skills.
In many ways I am glad that I did not have a right to vote in the Indonesian Presidential Election. There was not a pair of candidates that I could have voted for and then walked out of the polling booth feeling comfortable with what I had done. I would have had to go home and take a shower and hope that karma forgave me in the long run.
I am someone who believes that if you have a right to vote, and you can exercise that right to vote then you must do so. In the Indonesian case, where so many have sacrificed so much to gain this right, then there is an even greater obligation to exercise that right. There has in the modern era been a movement in Indonesia to exercise the democratic right not to vote. This movement is known as "golput" or golongan putih, the white group. The idea is that if one refuses to vote this is the best way of expressing one's displeasure at the lack of viable choices to choose between.
I would have voted, if I had the right to do so, and marked my ballot in such a way that it was invalid. I would have exercised my right to vote and would have expressed my inability to choose any of the candidates as they are all as poor as each other in terms of ability.
That's just me. And, no one else is me. To each their own. I respect other people's right to express their displeasure by exercising their democratic right not to vote. I would hope that in similar circumstances those people would also respect my right to vote in the way that I choose.
Someone has to win this thing, and with world renowned abusers of human rights on each of the other tickets, the process of elimination leaves the ticket of SBY / Boediono. Unfortunately, during his first five years in the job SBY has not shown himself to be particularly adept at resolving the critical issues facing Indonesia in the short, medium, and long terms.
Nevertheless, Viva Democracy!