Hotman Siregar, Yusitnus Paat, Jakarta – Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, politician Riza Patria won an overwhelming majority of the votes in the Jakarta Legislative Council election on Monday to fill the Jakarta deputy governor post vacated by Sandiaga Uno 20 months ago.
Sandiaga decided to step down in August 2018 to become a running mate for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto who eventually lost the election.
Riza, a member of the House of Representatives, won 81 out of 100 votes over Social Justice Party (PKS) politician Nurmansjah Lubis, who got only 17 votes. Two votes were deemed invalid in the closed-door election.
"Ahmad Riza Patria has been officially elected as the Jakarta deputy governor," election committee chairman Farazandi Fidinansyah announced the result at the council building in Central Jakarta.
The landslide victory means that Prabowo's Gerindra Party has managed to retain its grip in the key post.
Police officers and medical workers were present in the election room to make sure the councilors observe physical distancing to prevent coronavirus infection.
Governor Anies Baswedan welcomed the conclusion of the election after going solo for nearly two years.
He said he would get along well with Riza during the remainder of his term until 2022.
"The counting of the votes has been concluded with a victory for Mr. Ahmad Riza Patria. Congratulations to him and God willing we can work well together," Anies told reporters at City Hall.
"I hope the [post-election] process will be completed soon so he could start working immediately," Anies said.
Council Speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi said the newly elected deputy governor's immediate task is to help coordinate the capital's efforts in containing the spread of Covid-19.
Jakarta is now the epicenter of the outbreak and home to 50 percent of the positive cases in Indonesia.
"The coronavirus outbreak is a very serious problem that needs proper handling by the city government," Prasetyo said.
PSI keeps a distance
Six councilors from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) did not cast their votes despite appearing at the council building before the election took place.
It also appeared they weren't particularly concerned by their failure to cast the votes.
PSI, the so-called "millennial party," was very critical of PKS and Gerindra – where the two deputy governor candidates belong to – during the 2019 presidential and legislative elections, accusing them of exploiting sectarian and racial issues to grab votes.
But PSI councilor Justin Andrian said their failure to cast votes was merely the result of a technical issue. PSI demanded that the election be held openly using video streaming.
Justin said he and five colleagues had arrived before the meeting room closed at 10.00 a.m. but they didn't join the meeting until the streaming went live.
The committee did broadcast the election but the streaming started at 10.30 and the six PSI councilors were too late to join in, he said.
"Everybody was here early in the morning to wait for the promised live video streaming," Justin said.
"We don't regret losing our chance to vote from being late. We demand an open election and that is a matter of principle for us," he said.
However, two PSI members participated in the election because they were part of the organizing committee. It was not known if the two invalid votes belonged to them.