At least 1.5 million people did not vote in first round of the Jakarta election: KPU

An election official assists an ethnic Chinese Indonesian woman before she casts her ballot during an election for Jakarta’s governor on February 15, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Beawiharta

With two months to go, no one can really predict the outcome of the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election between remaining candidate pairs Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama-Djarot Saiful Hidayat and Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno with absolute certainty, except that it will likely be very, very close.

Even though many observers say that the 17% of voters who chose Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (who fell in the first round) will switch to Anies in the run-off election because of Ahok’s racial and religious identity as well as his alleged blasphemy against Islam, Ahok winning the first round may indicate that these factors did not hurt him in the polls as much as many had predicted.

And then, of course, there is still the not-so-small pool of non-voters who may tip the balance in the run-off one way or the other. Despite this election being one of the most hotly contested and discussed political battles in Indonesia in recent memory, the number of registered voters who abstained in the first round on Wednesday was surprisingly high.

As of early this morning, the Jakarta General Election Commission (KPU DKI Jakarta) has tallied 93% of the total votes for the official election result. What they have found thus far is that just over 1.57 million registered voters did not exercise their right to vote. 

To put that into context, the number of registered voters in Jakarta for this election is 6,815,415, meaning that a whopping 23% of them did not vote.

Demographically, those who abstained comprised of 953,019 males and 712,406 females. At the moment, there is no information on their religious affiliations or ethnic backgrounds, factors which could play a part in predicting who their votes would likely go towards if they were to vote in the second round.

KPU DKI Jakarta has yet to count the remaining 7% of the votes and announce the final tally. As things stand, Ahok leads the official count with 42.86%, followed closely by Anies with 40.12%, while Agus is trailing way behind with 17.01%.

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