Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A number of incumbents in the North Sumatra regional elections are losing to challengers who have strong support from many political parties, quick counts have shown.
Medan acting mayor Akhyar Nasution has made fewer gains than Bobby Nasution, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law, according to various pollsters.
Akhyar and running mate Salman Alfarisi were backed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party, while challenger Bobby and running mate Aulia Rachman were vouched for by eight political parties: the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Golkar Party, the Gerindra Party, the Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI), the United Development Party (PPP), the Hanura Party and the NasDem Party.
The Bobby-Aulia ticket led in the Charta Politika quick count with 55.29 percent of all votes sampled, while Akhyar-Salman had 44.71 percent. The Voxpol Center quick count showed Bobby-Aulia claiming 52.70 percent of the vote, while Akhyar-Salman had 47.29 percent with 98.57 percent of the sample counted. Another poll by Poltracking, counting 97.14 percent of vote samples, also favored Bobby-Aulia with 54.15 percent, while Akhyar-Salman secured 45.85 percent.
"We are still waiting for the official count," Bobby said in response to the quick count results during a press conference on Wednesday evening.
Serdang Bedagai Regent Soekirman, who once served as deputy regent, lost to Darma Wijaya in an outcome that was predicted by pollsters.
The incumbent was backed by NasDem, the PKS and PAN, while Darma was endorsed by seven parties, namely the PDI-P, Gerindra, Golkar, Hanura, the PPP, the Democratic Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB).
A quick count by the local PDI-P office showed Darma and running mate Adlin Yusri Tambunan taking a big lead in the regental race with over 70 percent of the vote, while Soekirman and running mate T. Ryan secured about 20 percent.
According to the General Elections Commission's (KPU) preliminary vote tally, with 40.01 percent of the vote counted, Darma-Adlin secured 76.8 percent while Soekirman-Ryan gained 23.2 percent.
Darma said that although he was optimistic about winning the election, he was still surprised by the big gap.
"This is a fantastic result, but we are still waiting for the final count," Darma said.
Another incumbent's defeat occurred in Samosir regency, where Regent Rapidin Simbolon lost to Vandiko Gultom in a predicted outcome.
Rapidin was backed only by the PDI-P, while Vandiko was supported by the six other parties in Samosir: NasDem, the PKB, Golkar, Gerinda, Hanura and the Democratic Party. An independent ticket was also in the race.
The KPU tally, counting 48.32 percent of the vote, showed Vandiko and running mate Martua Sitanggang winning 53.3 percent of the vote, while Rapidin and running mate Juang Sinaga secured 39 percent. The independent ticket trailed far behind with 7.8 percent.
Chairman of the PDI-P's North Sumatra chapter Djarot Syaiful Hidayat was quick to doubt the transparency of the election, throwing out allegations of possible electoral fraud.
"We suspect there were practices of money politics there. What can be expected from a leader who wins because of money?" Djarot told reporters on Thursday.
University of North Sumatra political observer Warjio said the results indicated that the people were unsatisfied with the incumbents' performances and wanted change.
"This is common, especially when the base network of an incumbent is not [strong], it is easy for challengers to take over," he said. (syk)