All this noise is taxing our patience
03 August 2009
By: Wimar Witoelar
I am glad someone of note said it, so I do not have to display loss of patience. The situation is getting ridiculous. Somebody won by a huge majority - 30% by all responsible surveys. The winners are trying to be graceful. But the losers have not only won the presidency but fast losing their common sense and public confidence. They have not lost the 3009 elections but throwing away their chances for 2014. All except General Prabowo. He has been uncharacteristically quiet, for which we salute him.
But Megawati is on the way to lose her second presidential election with a pout as her main reaction. Jusuf Kalla was magnanimous in defeat, kudos to your Sir, but apparently switches back and forth to a protesting stance in loyalty to his staff. What a circus. Wiranto might come out of this as the only statesmanlike candidate, not losing his cool since the beginning, not saying anything inflammatory, not saying too much of anything in any case.
So I am glad someone is saying the right thing, providing catharsis and keeping "genes" people like me out of trouble. In deference to the Jakarta Post, allow me to present their piece in its entirety,
Election rerun? No thanks
The Jakarta Post | Mon, 08/03/2009 8:50 AM | Opinion
It is obvious now that Megawati Soekarnoputri and Jusuf Kalla, the defeated candidates in July’s presidential election, are trying to force Indonesia to hold an election rerun. They are determined not to accept the results announced by the General Elections Commission (KPU), claiming massive fraud was behind incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono winning 60 percent of the nationwide vote.
But Megawati, Kalla and their running mates, former generals Prabowo Subianto and Wiranto respectively, are horribly mistaken if they believe the public are behind them. The huge endorsement for Yudhoyono was a clear indication not only of his popularity but also of the public’s desire to see the election decided in one round. Indonesia essentially said a runoff was not wanted and they wished to get on with their lives. Megawati and Kalla, clearly humiliated by the defeat, are still in denial.
They have filed a petition with the Constitutional Court and submitted evidence of fraud in the hope the Court will annul the result and call for a new election. Putting their evidence aside, the final KPU results were not all that different from predictions made by various surveys in the lead up to the July 8 election, as well as the results found by exit polls and quick polls on the Election Day itself. The public should have some degree of faith in the accuracy and credibility of these surveys as they were conducted independent of one another and still came out with the approximately the same results.
It would have been a different story if the survey outcomes varied significantly from the final election results. This happened in last month’s presidential election in Iran, and lead to the assumption that either the election was fraudulent or the surveys were not credible. Fortunately, in Indonesia, we don’t have that dilemma, except in the minds of Megawati and Kalla and their supporters who believe the KPU and survey agencies are wrong.
But they are right in so far as the election was messy. Millions of people were not able to vote, and millions of others were registered more than once. But they will have difficulty in proving a systematic campaign to ensure SBY’s victory in the way that Soeharto, riding on a Golkar ticket, won the presidential election six times between 1971 and 1998. It was not a perfect election by any means but it was as democratic and transparent as can be. The mismanagement can be blamed on the incompetence of KPU members. We should have fired them after the scandalous and chaotic legislative elections in April. The KPU is fast losing the respect of the public. Their weakness has created loopholes that were exploited to the absolute zenith by certain parties.
But as far as the election results are concerned, they remain valid if only because they were consistent with the various predictions. Whatever their real intention in contesting the KPU results is, Megawati and Kalla have succeeded in taking the punch out of the election. Like the terrorists who conducted the fatal July 17 bombing at two hotels in Jakarta, their maneuvers have defused any celebratory mood that one would expect following the democratic elections. These procedures, where the losers gallantly concede and congratulate the winner as he/she embraces the losers, are part of the necessary forward steps taken following a divided election. This is no surprise to Indonesia.
Megawati never conceded in the 2004 defeat. For her, this will be a repeat performance. But even if they managed to force a new vote, Kalla and Megawati are hurting themselves more than they are hurting the nation. Given the public sentiment against a new election, they are only making their case worse. Both the individual candidates and their parties, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Golkar, will become the eventual losers as they will further jeopardize their chances in the 2014 vote. This is one of those cases where we Indonesians are shooting ourselves in the foot. Outsiders have lavished us with praise for conducting free and democratic elections. But here, we are still engaged in petty fighting just to fulfill the egos of one or two individuals.
Show a little bit of statesmanship for once please