August 10, 2007 / 4:31 AM / 11 years ago

Islamic party candidate concedes Jakarta election

JAKARTA (Reuters) - The Indonesian capital’s deputy governor, Fauzi Bowo, has won the first direct elections for the top job in the teeming city, an aide to a rival candidate backed by a conservative Islamic party said on Friday.

Jakarta's governor candidate Fauzi Bowo and his wife Sri Hartati hold their ballots at the polling station in Jakarta August 8, 2007. Bowo, has won the first direct elections for the top job in the teeming city, an aide to a rival candidate backed by a conservative Islamic party said on Friday. REUTERS/Stringer

Wednesday’s election for governor came after a campaign that touched on the role of Islam in politics, corruption and a host of social and environmental problems in the sprawling, chaotic city of around 10 million.

Bowo was nominated by 19 political groups including three of the largest national parties while his only rival, former police general Adang Daradjatun, had the sole backing of the Muslim-based Justic and Prosperity Party (PKS).

“Daradjatun and running mate Priyanto have congratulated Bowo on his victory. For us, the result is already clear,” Igo Ilham, the head of Daradjatun’s campaign team, said by telephone.

Official vote counting on Friday showed Bowo, an urban planning specialist and life long bureaucrat, was leading with 58 percent with more than 3.5 million votes counted.

The number of eligible voters was put at 5.7 million but the turnout was estimated at 65 percent.

A member of Bowo’s campaign team said the deputy governor was confident of victory but would wait for official results, which are not due until next week.

Media reports quoted a PKS official as saying the party had done better than their target of 1.2 million votes in the Jakarta election.

PKS has grown fast, securing 7.34 percent of the vote and 45 of the national parliament’s 550 seats in 2004.

The party has pledged cleaner government, but has also raised questions over what exactly its Islamic agenda is in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Bowo’s coalition has raised concerns that a Daradjatun victory could result in sharia-style laws for Jakarta, a view shared by some rights activists.

Daradjatun has dismissed this as a smear campaign and said he has no intention of, for example, shutting down legal nightspots in the lively city.

Most Indonesian Muslims, who make up 85 percent of the 220 million population, practice a moderate form of Islam, although some local governments have brought in sharia-style laws.

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