Viewing cable 07JAKARTA1157

07JAKARTA11572007-04-25 06:01:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
DE RUEHJA #1157/01 1150601
R 250601Z APR 07
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 JAKARTA 001157 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2017 
JAKARTA 00001157  001.2 OF 004 
Classified By: Political Officer Eric W. Kneedler, reasons: 1.4 (b) and 
¶1. (C) On August 8, Jakarta will host the first directly 
contested governor's election in the 500-year history of the 
city.  The election represents arguably the most significant 
political event in the country between now and the 2009 
Presidential elections, and the results will have 
implications for the major parties and potential candidates 
in 2009.  Sitting Vice Governor Fauzi Bowo has enlisted the 
support of 17 political parties in his bid for the 
governorship and clearly established himself as a prohibitive 
favorite.  The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the largest 
party in the city with just under 25 percent of the local 
legislative seats, nominated former Deputy Police Chief Adang 
Daradjatun as its candidate (Ref B).  As with all elections 
in Indonesia, money politics have played a major role in 
shaping the playing field for the governorship.  Our contacts 
tell us that Vice Governor Fauzi purchased the support of 
three of the four largest political parties in Jakarta for at 
least five billion Indonesian rupiah apiece ($555,000). 
Adang reportedly paid PKS between 15 and 25 billion rupiah 
($1,666,666 - $2,750,000) for its support.  Fauzi and Adang's 
deep pockets, coupled with the sheer enormity of Fauzi Bowo's 
coalition, have effectively frozen out potential opposition 
and turned the election into a two man show: Adang and PKS 
versus Fauzi and everyone else. 
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¶2. (C) Vice Governor Fauzi Bowo moved aggressively to 
establish himself as the overwhelming favorite in the 
Governor's race.  As reported in Ref B, Fauzi has 
masterfully, if not always ethically, taken full advantage of 
the trappings of incumbency to increase his name recognition. 
 The Vice Governor spearheaded an anti-drug campaign that 
conveniently involved the use of his likeness on several 
thousand posters placed strategically all over the city.  He 
emerged from Governor Sutiyoso's shadows over the course of 
the last year to become a frequent spokesperson for 
government policy, and spends a good deal of his time 
traveling throughout the city participating in events that 
one could be excused for confusing with campaign rallies. 
Perhaps most importantly, he has effectively distanced 
himself from the disastrous flooding that killed dozens of 
Jakartans and left thousands homeless earlier this year. 
¶3. (C) As successful as Fauzi has been in boosting his name 
recognition through his non-official campaign, the real 
difference maker at this early stage has been Fauzi's ability 
to influence the election the old fashioned way: with cash. 
Dadan Irawan, a member of the Golkar party central board, 
told us that Vice Governor Fauzi paid off the three largest 
parties in the Jakarta local legislature after PKS (the 
Democratic Party with 20 percent, the Indonesian Democratic 
Party - Struggle (PDI-P) with 13.5 percent, and Golkar with 8 
percent) to endorse his candidacy and crowd out opposition. 
Dadan said the Vice Governor gave them each a minimum of five 
billion rupiah for their support, and then secured the 
backing of another 13 smaller parties for varying amounts. 
Fauzi's alliance also now includes the United Development 
Party (PPP), with 7.5 percent; the Prosperous Peace Party 
(PDS), with 5.7 percent; and the Reform Star Party (PBR), 
with 3 percent.  If Fauzi's coalition stays together and 
every party that has announced support for his candidacy 
formally registers with him on June 5, he will have the 
support of 63.1 percent of the seats represented in the 
Jakarta legislature 
¶4. (C) Dadan told us that Fauzi's primary financier in the 
massive party buyout effort has been sitting Governor 
Sutiyoso.  According to Dadan and other contacts, Sutiyoso 
eagerly bankrolled Fauzi's candidacy with the full 
expectation that Fauzi would reward this loyalty by blocking 
any efforts to investigate Sutiyoso's murky business dealings 
after he departs office.  Fauzi will be expected not only to 
protect Sutiyoso from messy corruption charges, but also to 
JAKARTA 00001157  002.2 OF 004 
allow him to continue the money making opportunities he has 
enjoyed while Governor. 
¶5. (C) According to Dadan, money was not the only weapon that 
Fauzi used to assemble his prodigious coalition.  Reprising 
their successful cooperation in the Banten gubernatorial 
election (Ref A), Golkar and PDI-P opted to join forces in a 
conscious effort to defeat PKS.  Dadan told us that Golkar 
still very much viewed PKS as a threat and believed that it 
was essential to defeat PKS resoundingly in the governor's 
race.  A PKS victory would give the party a springboard to 
bigger and better things, and Golkar's leadership felt it was 
imperative to band together with as many parties as possible 
to defeat the common threat. 
¶6. (C) When the Charge d'Affaires recently met with Vice 
Governor Fauzi and asked about the campaign, Fauzi replied 
somewhat disingenuously that he faced an "uphill struggle." 
Fauzi said that his current responsibilities as Vice Governor 
prevented him from campaigning or advertising and argued that 
this would handicap him relative to the opposition.  Fauzi 
noted that shortly after the floods devastated Jakarta 
earlier this year, many political pundits commented that his 
political future had "washed away with the flood water."  He 
pointed out that while that speculation was obviously 
premature, the flooding issue would loom large and he would 
have to find a way to articulate how he would battle the 
problem as Governor. 
¶7. (C) After the Charge noted Fauzi's broad political 
support, the Vice Governor downplayed the importance of party 
endorsements and stressed that individual voters would select 
a candidate based on his or her merits, not their party 
affiliation.  The Vice Governor told the Charge that he had 
not yet selected his running mate, but implied that it would 
most likely be someone with a military background (Note: the 
media have widely reported that former generals are the top 
two candidates for the job: Mokodongan and Kirbianto.  End 
Note).  According to Fauzi, the Jakarta governor's race was 
extremely significant and would serve as a "barometer" for 
the 2009 Presidential race. 
¶8. (C) As reported in Ref B, PKS announced last year that 
Adang Daradjatun would run as the PKS candidate for governor. 
 PKS recently announced that Dani Anwar, a local Jakarta 
legislator, would run as his deputy.  From the start, the 
choice of Adang was a curious one for a party allegedly 
committed to clean governance, social justice, and the purity 
of the Islamic struggle.  After all, Adang had developed a 
reputation as the "wealthiest police officer in Indonesia," 
and no one seemed to believe this was because of his wife's 
inheritance.  Beyond the rampant allegations of corruption, 
his position within the law enforcement establishment seemed 
like a poor fit for PKS.  The most surprising aspect of the 
pick, however, was the fact that he had very little name 
recognition.  PKS held the most seats in the Jakarta 
legislature and had an opportunity to capture the most 
important governorship in the country.  Not only that, but 
winning in Jakarta would give the party a signature victory 
and generate momentum, not to mention provide a showcase to 
demonstrate the party's capacity to govern.  So, everybody 
wanted to know, why would PKS nominate an anonymous corrupt 
cop as the PKS standard bearer for its biggest election test 
¶9. (C) The primary reason PKS selected Adang, it turned out, 
was pretty straightforward: money.  According to PKS 
legislator Zulkieflimansyah (Zul), Adang simply outbid 
everybody else and secured the party's support for 15 billion 
rupiah (Note: several of our other contacts told us Adang 
paid 25 billion.  End Note).  Though Zul admitted to a heated 
internal party debate about whether to sell out to the 
highest bidder, ultimately PKS determined the party needed 
the money.  Zul told us that another key factor that came 
into play was the shortage of qualified PKS cadres. 
According to Zul, the party lacked individuals with the right 
combination of name recognition and governing skills to fit 
the bill.  Nominating someone like MPR Chairman Hidayat Nur 
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Wahid with the star power to win, but without the capacity to 
govern effectively, would be a disaster for the party. 
Winning the election would be the easy part he said; PKS did 
not have anyone who could run the city effectively. 
¶10. (C) In the Charge d'Affaire's April 18 meeting with PKS 
Chairman Tifatul Sembiring and Zulkieflimansyah, the two PKS 
leaders admitted that the party had committed to Adang 
because of his wealth.  Tifatul said that PKS had very little 
money and needed to boost its finances.  According to 
Tifatul, Adang's strong police connections would also be 
extremely useful to the party in local elections throughout 
the country.  The party's relations had always been rocky 
with the police, Tifatul said, but Adang had changed that 
virtually overnight.  Zul told the Charge that the choice of 
Adang also had the added benefit of inoculating the party 
against charges of radicalism.  How radical a party could PKS 
be if it was willing to nominate a policeman for governor, 
Zul asked rhetorically? 
¶11. (C) On April 20, we attended the PKS anniversary 
celebration and asked PKS legislator Abdul Hakim for his 
thoughts on the election.  According to Abdul, PKS could not 
win the Jakarta governorship "alone" and had virtually no 
chance at victory; expectations were low.  Fauzi Bowo would 
win handily he said, but this would actually be a good for 
the party, as no one within its leadership actually believed 
PKS was ready to assume the burden of leading the city 
anyway.  It would be, he added, the ideal outcome.  PKS would 
take Adang's money and lose, but without damaging its image. 
¶12. (C) As it now stands, Fauzi Bowo and Adang Daradjatun 
collectively enjoy the support of 86.6 percent of the seats 
represented in the Jakarta legislature.  Candidates must 
enlist the backing of parties, or coalitions of parties, with 
at least 15 percent in order to qualify for the race.  If 
Fauzi Bowo's coalition stays intact until the official June 5 
registration deadline, no other potential candidates would be 
able to muster the minimum requisite support. 
¶13. (C) There is only one other candidate with the slightest 
hope of securing the 15 percent needed to register.  Sarwono 
Kusumaatmadja, a member of the Regional Representatives 
Council (DPD) and a former environment minister is the one 
candidate who has evinced any interest in actually debating 
issues of importance.  A former Golkar Secretary-General, he 
was the first minister to demand Suharto's resignation in 
1998 and would bring legitimate reformist credentials to a 
potential candidacy.  He established an impressive internet 
site to promote his ideas on everything from combating bird 
flu to women's rights (, and would 
undoubtedly inject a much needed note of seriousness into the 
¶14.  (C) In recent weeks, both the National Mandate Party 
(PAN) and National Awakening Party (PKB), the fifth and 
eighth largest parties in Jakarta respectively, have lined up 
behind his candidacy.  At least five other very small parties 
have also allegedly pledged their support to Sarwono, yet he 
can still only claim 12.6 of the seats in the Jakarta 
legislature.  Complicating matters for Sarwono, the PAN/PKB 
alliance that forms the backbone of his current coalition is 
uneasy at best.  The two parties have sparred publicly about 
the second half of the Sarwono ticket and it is unclear if 
there is any prospect for a compromise pick for Vice Governor 
that would satisfy both.  Regardless, even with the support 
of PAN, PKB, and all the remaining small, unattached parties, 
Sarwono needs a significant defection from the Fauzi Bowo 
camp in order to run.  By all accounts, such a defection is 
unlikely, and the odds are that Sarwono will be forced to 
watch the election from the sidelines. 
¶15. (C) A recent Indonesian poll conducted by the Indonesian 
Survey Institute (LSI) appeared to support the general 
impression that the election will be Fauzi Bowo's to lose. 
According to LSI, 34 percent of respondents pointed to Fauzi 
Bowo as their top choice for governor, while retired general 
Agum Gumelar came in second with 20 percent, despite the fact 
JAKARTA 00001157  004.2 OF 004 
that he does not have a political vehicle to run.  Adang came 
in third with 19 percent, while Sarwono rounded out the poll 
with 10 percent. 
¶16. (C) Conventional wisdom suggests that the Jakarta 
governor's race will, in some fashion, serve as a litmus test 
for the 2009 presidential election.  While this may be 
overstating the case (the distribution of party support in 
Jakarta is significantly different from the national 
electoral map), its national significance far surpasses all 
other local elections and it will generate national 
¶17. (C) No one will be watching the governor's race more 
closely than Governor Sutiyoso.  He has clear designs on 
higher office, and his aspirations are directly connected to 
Fauzi Bowo's fate.  If Fauzi wins, Sutiyoso will be able to 
continue to treat Jakarta like an ATM machine and generate 
the type of money that he will need to launch a serious 
presidential candidacy.  In the unlikely event that Fauzi 
loses, Sutiyoso's reputation will take a serious blow, as 
many people view Fauzi's candidacy as a referendum on 
Sutiyoso's 10-year reign as governor.  Even more 
significantly, without an ally in the governor's mansion, 
most people believe Sutiyoso would be vulnerable to any 
number of criminal investigations. 
¶18. (C) Roy Janis, one of the founders of the Democratic 
Renewal Party (PDP) told us that Sutiyoso had already 
approached PDP about supporting his 2009 presidential 
campaign.  Our contacts from other parties tell us Sutiyoso 
has made similar overtures across the political party 
spectrum.  The Jakarta governor's race will go a long way 
towards determining whether or not his candidacy will be 
¶19. (C) The rationale PKS used to select Adang Daradjatun as 
its candidate for governor reflects a pragmatism that would 
not seem at all out of place in a Golkar Central Board 
meeting.  Party leaders essentially threw in the towel a year 
ago and decided to use the race to generate resources for the 
future.  The logic makes sense, in the Indonesian political 
context, but is yet another indication that PKS is becoming 
like all the other parties it once worked so hard to 
differentiate itself from. 
¶20. (C) In many ways the Jakarta governor's race has shown 
the soft underbelly of democracy "Indonesian style."  Voters 
hungry for a serious campaign about the myriad problems 
afflicting a city still reeling from devastating flooding, 
will have to content themselves with "a campaign" between two 
candidates who bought their way into contention and squeezed 
out all competition.  Despite the intense press coverage of 
the election and its national importance, the Jakarta elites 
have rigged the game.  What should have been an interesting 
debate about the future of the city, will instead amount to 
little more than a coronation for the status quo.  Analysts 
expect turnout to be very low, and it is not difficult to 
understand why.