From right, Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat and campaign spokesman Ruhut Sitompul in Jakarta on Wednesday (16/11). Ahok has indicated that he may file a pretrial motion to annul his suspect status in a blasphemy case. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A)

Polling Agency Finds Ahok-Djarot Still Ahead in Jakarta Race

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT & EKO PRASETYO

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Jakarta. Polling agency Vox Point Indonesia has waded in to the Jakarta blasphemy debate, saying it demonstrates a showdown of political interests over law enforcement after releasing a survey which found the investigation has not damaged the incumbent ticket as much as detractors may have hoped.

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama attended the first day of his trial on Tuesday (13/12), with a second session scheduled for Dec. 20 in which prosecutors will respond to his note of objection, a presiding judge said.

“We have seen the reality of legal issues mixed with political interests in Ahok’s case, as it weighs more to the political side,” VPI head Handoyo Budhisedjati said in Jakarta on Tuesday evening.

“We have been independent and neutral in Jakarta’s election. However, we deplored what has happened against Ahok, as we saw the efforts from irresponsible parties trying to prevent him to run for the regional head position."

Polling result shows Basuki on top

VPI conducted non-commissioned polling between Nov. 8 and Dec. 8 which found 80 percent of respondents would choose the incumbent ticket, followed by Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno with 12 percent and Agus Yudhoyono and Sylviana Murni on 8 percent.

Noting the results differ widely from most other surveys, Handoyo said the agency "takes responsibility."

The survey was distributed among 400 voters across Jakarta although only 258 were returned.

Based on the results, 82 percent of respondents are aware that the election is to be held on Feb. 15.

“At around 97 percent of respondents knew the three candidate pairs, with three percent who were unaware. The majority chose Ahok-Djarot for proven performance, firmness, honest and disciplined, along with decorated track records,” Handoyo said.

Police declared the governor, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, a suspect in mid-November in a blasphemy investigation launched amid mounting pressure from Muslim hardliners, who staged a wave of mass demonstrations against him over the past two months.

Tuesday's hearing also drew further Muslim protests, but police said the day's proceedings continued without any disruption, with thousands of officers safeguarding the venue.

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