Director General of Regional Autonomy at the Home Affairs Ministry Sumarsono has confirmed that on Saturday (11/02), Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama will return to gubernatorial duties, following the end of his re-election campaign. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

SMRC Poll Indicates Public Believes Ahok's Apology 'Sincere'

BY :CARLOS KY PAATH

DECEMBER 09, 2016

Jakarta. The majority of the public believes Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was "sincere" in his apology in response to controversial statements he made on Pramuka Island during September, which later resulted in blasphemy allegations against him, a recent poll by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting found.

Ahok, a Christian, has repeatedly apologized for quoting a Koranic verse, which sparked calls for blasphemy charges against him after a doctored version of the speech went viral on social media.

"There were 57.3 percent of respondents who said they had forgiven [Ahok] as they feel the apology was sincere," SMRC founder Saiful Mujani said during a press conference on Thursday (08/12).

The national poll involved 1,220 respondents, randomly selected from across the country.

Direct interviews were conducted with 1,012 respondents and the margin of error is stated as 3.1 percent.

"There were 29.1 percent who said they cannot forgive [Basuki] as they consider the apology insincere, or a lie. Meanwhile, 13.6 percent chose not to comment," he said.

The SMRC survey also found 23.1 percent of respondents believe President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo interfered in Ahok's legal case, allowing the him not be detained. A further 29.5 percent said they did not think Jokowi interfered, while 47.3 percent stated that they were not sure.

The SMRC's previous survey released in October showed Ahok and his running mate Djarot Syaiful Hidayat are far ahead of their opponents in the Jakarta gubernatorial election, slated to take place in mid-February.

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