Ahok loses Jakarta election to ex-minister

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Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama lost to former culture and education minister Anies Baswedan in an election on April 19, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has lost his job to former culture and education minister Anies Baswedan, in what has been a high-profile election marked by racial and religious tension.

Quick counts after the polls closed yesterday showed Mr Anies, who ran on an opposition party ticket, winning almost 60 per cent of the votes. The official count will be out only in May, but the interim results point to Basuki, better known as Ahok, losing the job he inherited when President Joko Widodo was elected to the higher office in 2014.

Yesterday's election was held amid heightened security. More than 60,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed in the city, over fears of Islamic hardline groups intimidating voters or causing unrest.

But despite being one of Indonesia's most polarising elections, with protests, attempted coups, as well as Basuki being charged with insulting Islam, Polling Day was peaceful.

The race, however, came to an anti-climactic end. Mr Anies and his running mate Sandiaga Uno took an early lead and never let it go. Yesterday, Mr Anies vowed to safeguard diversity and unity as governor. He said: "Our focus is social justice, ending inequality, and our commitment is to safeguard diversity and unity."

Francis Chan


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline Ahok loses Jakarta election to ex-minister. Subscribe