Jakarta. Five provinces, which are home to more than half of Indonesian voters, are set to elect new leaders next week. The results of the regional vote are expected to influence the 2019 general and presidential elections.
Next year's coalitions are likely to mirror those that will win regionally. The winners' performance in the following months will also have an impact on the parties and presidential candidates they are affiliated with.
West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra and South Sulawesi together account for 108 million votes, and are therefore considered the most influential of the 17 provinces that will go to the polling stations on June 27.
1. North Sumatra
North Sumatra, Indonesia's fourth-largest province by population, is dominated by the Batak ethnic group — 41 percent of the region's 13.3 million inhabitants. The second largest group are the Javanese (30 percent). Muslims constitute 66 percent of North Sumatra's population, Protestants 27 percent and Catholics 6 percent.
The province's 10.5 million voters will choose between two candidates for the governor's office, Djarot Syaiful Hidayat and Edy Rahmayadi, both Muslim and of Javanese descent.
"Ethnicity and religion will always play a role in countries with patronage democracy, like India, the Philippines and Indonesia," said Arizka Warganegara, a research fellow in political geography at the University of Leeds.
Patronage democracy is a system in which politicians implicitly promise better access to goods and opportunities in order to win an election. This often weakens the voters' rational assessment of their programs.
According to Arizka, the regional poll in North Sumatra is particularly interesting, as Edy is supported by the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Djarot by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) — in the 2019 presidential election Prabowo Subianto will also be supported by Gerindra, while Joko "Jokowi" Widodo by PDI-P.
As former North Sumatra Governor Tengku Erry Nuradi failed to get sufficient support from political parties, there will be no incumbent in the election.
"In elections with no incumbents, final results are always uncertain and difficult to predict," Arizka said.
Edy is a retired general and current chairman of the Indonesian Football Association. His running mate, Musa Rajekshah, is a businessman involved in the palm oil and automotive sectors, based in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra.
In a survey released by Indo Barometer in March, Edy's and Musa's electability was25.8 percent, while Djarot's and his running mate's 26 percent.
"The competition in North Sumatra will be very tight. Conflicts can happen," Indo Barometer executive director Muhammad Qodari said in March as quoted by Beritasatu.com.
In an April survey by Lingkaran Survei Indonesia (LSI), Edy's electability was 37.2 percent, while Djarot's 24.8 percent.
Edy said in April that if he wins he would focus on unemployment, education, health care, infrastructure and agriculture.
"There are more than 400,000 secondary school graduates with no employment. We'll also focus more on education for the sake of the next generation," he said, as quoted by Detik.com.
Edy and Musa are backed by Gerindra, the Golkar Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Democratic Party, the People's Conscience Party (Hanura) and the National Democratic Party (Nasdem).
Djarot Syaiful Hidayat
Djarot, former governor of Jakarta and former mayor of Blitar (East Java), and his running mate Sihar Sitorus are supported by PDI-P and the United Development Party (PPP).
Sihar holds a doctorate from Alliance Manchester Business School. His father was a Bataknese businessman, successful in the palm oil sector.
Djarot was a close ally and deputy of Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, former Jakarta governor sentenced in a controversial blasphemy case in May 2017.
Djarot is committed to eradicating corruption in North Sumatra. His and Ahok's measures against bribes in the Jakarta administration have proven successful.
According to Transparency International, Medan is the most corrupt city in Indonesia.
"Djarot, according to our research, was successful in achieving good governance and bureaucratic reforms in Blitar and Jakarta," Indonesia Corruption Watch coordinator Donal Fariz recently told Liputan6.com.
"We are coming to North Sumatra to change its bribe-tainted image," Djarot said in May.
2. West Java
West Java is another province that will influence the political map ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
With 31.7 million eligible voters, it is the biggest voter base in the country.
According to a Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) survey from April, Deddy Mizwar and Dedi Mulyadi, who are supported by the Democratic Party and Golkar, are the province's leading candidates, with an electability rate of 41 percent. Ridwan Kamil and UU Ruzhanul Ulum, supported by Nasdem, are 7 percentage points behind them.
When CSIS polled 1,000 respondents in West Java, between April 16 and April 30, about 16 percent of them were undecided.
Deddy, who in 2013-18 served as West Java's deputy governor, is an actor and film director. He entered politics in 2012 by joining the Democratic Party. Between 2006 and 2009 he was chairing the National Film Advisory Board.
His running mate, Dedi, has twice served as Purwakarta district chief. It remains unclear whom the pair will support in the 2019 presidential election.
Bandung Mayor Ridwan "Emil" Kamil is a popular leader, recognized for his creativity, reform-mindedness and dedication to developing the city. Since he took office in 2013, Bandung's art-deco style has been reinstated and parks renovated to serve as public spaces. Ridwan's running mate, Ruzhanul, is former district head of Tasikmalaya, West Java.
Emil graduated in architecture from the Bandung Institute of Technology. He also holds a master's degree in urban design from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sudrajat, a retired general, runs in the West Java gubernatorial election on Gerindra, PAN and PKS tickets. He is a former ambassador to China and holds a master's degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
His running mate, Ahmad Syaikhu, is a PKS politician.
Sudrajat and Akhmad are far behind the top two candidates, with an electability rate of 6.9 percent.
Tubagus is a retired general, member of House Commission I, which oversees defense, intelligence and foreign affairs.
He holds a doctoral degree from the Pasundan University in Bandung and is supported by Hanura. His running mate, former West Java Police chief Anton Charliyan, is supported by PDI-P.
The pair's electability rate stands at 2.4 percent.
3. Central Java
Ganjar Pranowo and Taj Yasin will run against Sudirman Said and Ida Fauziyah to win the majority of Central Java's 27 million votes.
Central Java has been a stronghold of PDI-P, which since 1999 has not lost any election in the province.
"Java as a whole is of key importance in the 2019 presidential election, because of its huge population and close distances between regions, which can facilitate mass mobilization," Arya Fernandes, a research fellow at CSIS, told the Jakarta Globe, adding that presidential candidate's electability will be boosted by the governor who wins next week's election.
Incumbent Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo is running with Taj Yasin, a PPP politician.
The duo is supported by PPP, PDI-P, Nasdem, the Democratic Party and Golkar, which dominate the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) with 58 seats.
Their campaign promises include improving the quality of roads in the province, bureaucratic reforms and poverty alleviation through subsidized fuel and fertilizers for fishermen and farmers. About 65 percent of Central Java's population works in the agrarian sector.
Although heavily criticized for allowing construction of a cement factory in Rembang and for his alleged involvement in a high-profile corruption scandal surrounding electronic identity cards (e-KTP), Ganjar remains the most popular candidate.
According to a poll released by CSIS last month, the pair's electability rate is 66.5 percent, while their opponents' only 14.8 percent, with 18 percent undecided.
"If the undecided choose Sudirman [Said] and Ida [Fauziyah], it won't be enough for them to win. Ganjar and Yasin are too strong in Central Java," CSIS executive director Phillips J. Vermonte said, as quoted by Beritasatu.com.
Sudirman Said, former energy and mineral resources minister, and Ida Fauziyah, a PKB politician, are supported by PKB, Gerindra, PAN and PKS, which have 48 seats in the regional legislature.
Their program is focused on reducing poverty and unemployment by creating 5 million jobs, and eradication of corruption.
Sudirman is well known for his antigraft advocacy.
According to Litbang Kompas, the pair's electability rate was 15 percent in May, while their opponents' 77 percent.
"The gap is bigger than the number of undecided voters … So even if Sudirman-Ida manage to attract the undecided, they still won't catch up with Ganjar-Yasin," said Hasanuddin Ali, founder of Alvara Research Center.
4. East Java
Around 30.1 million voters will cast their votes in East Java, choosing either Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Emil Elistianto Dardak or Saifullah Yusuf and Puti Guntur Sukarno.
According to Indobarometer, Pollmark and Charta Politica, Saifullah and Puti should win next week's gubernatorial race.
According to CSIS, however, Khofifah and Emil have a 54 percent electability rate, while Saifullah and Puti 38 percent.
Khofifah Indar Parawansa
Khofifah and Emil are endorsed by the Democratic Party, Golkar, PPP, Nasdem, PAN and Hanura.
In Jokowi's cabinet, Khofifah served as social affairs minister. Between 1999-2001, she was minister for women's empowerment. She was also a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
In 2013, she lost East Java's gubernatorial race to incumbent Soekarwo.
Khofifah and Emil have promised to reduce economic disparity, protect the province's farmers and decrease East Java's poverty rate.
Saifullah and Puti are endorsed by PDI-P, PKB, Gerindra and PKS.
Saifullah has been East Java's deputy governor since 2009. During his and Soekarwo's term, East Java's unemployment rate was 4 percent, lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.50 percent.
Saifullah was transmigration minister between 2004 and 2007, while Puti is a granddaughter of Indonesia's first President Sukarno.
The pair promises to support small and medium enterprises and develop the province's infrastructure.
5. South Sulawesi
Four candidates will compete for South Sulawesi's gubernatorial office. The province records 6 million eligible voters.
"South Sulawesi is considered as a barometer for eastern Indonesia. Candidates affiliated with Golkar will have an advantage, especially if endorsed by JK [Vice President Jusuf Kalla]," Arya of CSIS said.
Jusuf Kalla is a Golkar politician who was born in South Sulawesi. His influence in the province's politics and business is enormous.
According to Index Indonesia's survey released in June, Nurdin Halid and Aziz Qahhar Mudzakkar are leading with an electability of 30.1 percent, followed by Nurdin Abdullah and Andi Sudirman Sulaiman (23.4 percent), Ichsan Yasin Limpo and Andi Mudzakkar (18.9 percent), and Agus Arifin Nu'mang and Tanribali Lamo (5.1 percent).
Nurdin's career as a businessman and politician has been marred by corruption scandals.
He and his running mate, Aziz, are supported by Golkar, Hanura, the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) and PKB, a majority coalition with 41 seats in the province's Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).
Aziz has been a member of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) since 2004.
Nurdin has been serving as district head of Bantaeng, South Sulawesi, since 2008. His running mate, Andi, is an engineer and younger brother of Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman. The pair is supported by PDIP, PKS and PAN.
Nurdin received Agent of Change award from local newspaper Republika.
Ichsan Yasin Limpo
Ichsan is an independent candidate, a younger brother of current South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo. He served as district head of Gowa, South Sulawesi, between 2005 and 2015. He has allegedly forged his junior high school diploma, but was not convicted.
His running mate, Andi, is a younger brother of Aziz Qahhar Mudzakkarof who runs in the gubernatorial race with Nurdin Halid.
Agus Arifin Nu'mang
Agus has been politically active in South Sulawesi since 1988. In 2008, he served as the province's deputy governor. His running mate, Tanribali, is a retired general and son of former South Sulawesi Governor Achmad Lamo.
The duo is supported by Gerindra, the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and PPP.