Jakarta. The opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) may have emerged with the most votes from Wednesday’s legislative election, but its margin of victory fell far short of what experts and pollsters had predicted.
Quick counts by various polling institutes after the close of balloting on Wednesday gave the party around 19 percent of the vote, a far cry from predictions of 30 percent or higher predicted in polls before the election. The figure also leaves the party short of the 25 percent total, or 20 percent of seats at the House of Representatives, that the PDI-P needs to be able to nominate a presidential candidate without having to form a coalition with another party.
Agung Suprio, an analyst at the University of Indonesia, said the poor showing should prompt the party to question the true electability of its presidential candidate, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo.
“Evaluate first Joko’s campaign team, then the decision to nominate him for president,” Agung said on Thursday as quoted by Okezone.com.
He added that the results indicated that while Joko was hugely popular, that popularity had failed to rub off on his party.
Hasto Kristiyanto, a PDI-P deputy secretary general, conceded that the announcement of Joko’s candidacy prior to the legislative election had not been sufficient to boost the party’s showing at the ballot box.
However, he said that despite the outcome, the “Jokowi effect” could be seen in the high turnout.
Hasto also claimed that vote buying by other parties had played a part in influencing the vote, as did the much-publicized problems with the electoral roll.
But he said he was optimistic the party would fare strongly in the presidential election, scheduled for July 9.
“There are people who treat legislative elections and presidential elections differently,” Hasto said.
Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), argued that Joko’s nomination had helped boost the PDI-P at the ballot box.
“I disagree with those who say there was no ‘Jokowi Effect’ [in the legislative election]. If it wasn’t for his presidential nomination, the PDI-P would have seen worse results,” Ikrar said, adding that the PDI-P had been too slow to nominate Joko and had not done enough to promote him as its nominee.
Joko concurred that the party’s “political marketing strategy” had been found wanting.
“The political marketing didn’t work properly and we faced a dead end,” he said.
“The problem is not with the political machine, but with the lack of political marketing, because there was a limited amount of budget and we were only able to advertise over three days instead of three weeks.”
He denied that the PDI-P had left the March 14 announcement of his nomination too late.
“The timing of the declaration was right, but we didn’t support it with sufficient political marketing. There were also plenty of smear campaigns,” Joko said.