Aristocratic Elections in Yogyakarta

Published in The Jakarta Post (19/4/2014) Donwload PDF

If I had to select a single candidate out of 6,607 House of Representatives candidates and 945 Regional Representatives Council (DPD) candidates who had a 99.9 percent probability of being reelected, I would certainly choose Queen Hemas, a DPD candidate from Yogyakarta.

The queen of YogyakarRoy_S@kotabaruta has, undoubtedly, dominated DPD elections since their inception in 2004. She then secured more than 800,000 votes, more than all three legislators’ votes combined. In 2009, she won by a landslide with more than 80 percent of the valid 940,000 votes. In 2014, she has set a target of winning the support of no less than 1 million out of the 1.7 million in the voters’ list.

What explains this phenomenon? Does aristocratic status matter to voters? How well did aristocratic candidates do in the 2014 election? The recent election in Yogyakarta may shed some light on the aristocratic performance in politics.

In many parts of Indonesia, the aristocracy has a special place in people’s hearts. Many local aristocrats have successfully transformed people’s cultural support into political support since the fall of Soeharto. In Gianyar regency, Bali, for instance, the election has always pitted two royal houses, Puri Gianyar and Puri Ubud. In Ternate, North Maluku, both the sultan and his queen, Nita Susanti, received significant votes for the House and DPD seats.

wiro@mantrijeronThis tendency has always been strongest in Yogyakarta, which received special status in 2012. Unlike any other provinces, the Yogyakarta governor and vice governor are privileged positions for two royal houses, the sultanate of Yogyakarta and the Pakualaman principality.

In the 2014 election, high-ranking aristocrats competed for national and local legislative seats representing different parties in Yogyakarta. The sultanate of Yogyakarta planned to have representatives in three different legislative levels. Queen Hemas is running for the DPD for the third time, her son-in-law Prince Wironegoro is running for the House representing the Gerindra Party and another son-in-law, Prince Purbaningrat, of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is running for the Yogyakarta Legislative Council (DPRD).

Pakualaman runners are Roy Suryo Notodiprojo, the Democratic Party’s candidate for the House and his wife Ismarindayani Priyanti for the DPD. In addition, middle- and low-level aristocrats are competing for seats in the provincial and five district legislatures in Yogyakarta.

However, the results show that depending solely on aristocratic status might not bear fruit. Prince Wironegoro lost in the polling station where he cast his vote against another Gerindra candidate, Andika Pandu Puragabaya, the son of former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. (ret) Djoko Santoso. Andika is likely to be one out of eight House representatives from Yogyakarta.

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Paranormal Politics

Dukun-calegMiftahul Jannah, a Democrat Party candidate for Ngawi district, meditated in the stream of the sacred river of Tempuk Alas Kedonggo—located in the midst of a teak jungle in Ngawi—to achieve her ambition to become an MP.

She is not the only one. Hundreds of parliamentary candidates across Indonesia are following rituals in sacred—and sometimes dangerous—mountains, rivers, beaches and caves following procedures set by dukun (a person with paranormal power).

The cost for these kinds of methods isn’t cheap. Ki Joko Bodo, the leading dukun in Indonesia, said that cost for national parliament is around 1 to 10 billion Rupiah or around US$100,000 to US$1 million, depending on the candidate. For the Indonesian presidency, the cost can go up to US$5 million. Another newcomer in paranormal business, Desembriar Rosyady, uses a different strategy. He guarantees 100% that those who believe in him will be elected. The cost varies, but it’s said to be up to US$100 million for a presidential race. The money is held by a notary and will only be given to him if the candidate is elected.

In the modern era, why do candidates use ‘irrational’ means to achieve their political goals? The answer might rely on the contradictory understanding of the concept power: between Western rationalities of power versus the Javanese concept of power, nicely presented in a classic text by Benedict Anderson, The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture. Unlike the modern European concept of power that is abstract, of heterogeneous sources, with no inherit limits of accumulation, and morally ambiguous, Javanese believe that power is concrete, coming from a single source, constant in total quantity and doesn’t raise questions of legitimacy. Power, in Javanese culture, can be present in sacred things like keris (dagger), akik (gemstone) and amulets. Candidates follow rituals in order to absorb “power” that resides in sacred places and to accumulate power within them.

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Catatan Pemilu Legislatif 2014

 

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Kedaulatan Rakyat, 11 April 2014

LUAR biasa. Selamat kepada seluruh rakyat Indonesia. Demokrasi Indonesia melangkah ke satu level yang lebih tinggi. Insiden yang cukup menghawatirkan tidak terjadi. Walaupun berbeda, simpatisan partai saling menghargai dan menghormati perbedaan pendapat. KPU bekerja lebih baik dibandingkan 2009.

Juga menarik ketika pemilih Indonesia semakin setia dengan pilihannya karena semakin terkonsolidasi pilihan terhadap partai politik yang jumlahnya kian  rasional. Masing-masing partai telah memiliki basis massa yang relatif cukup solid dengan tidak ada yang mencapai 20% suara. Persaingan semakin setara yang menggambarkan realitas Indonesia yang beragam.

Realita yang dipaparkan quick count ternyata mengungkap bila ‘Jokowi effect’ yang diharapkan memenangkan PDIP lebih dari 20% sehingga bisa mengusung pasangan capres sendiri tidak terjadi. Justru ‘Prabowo effect’ yang mampu menaikkan suara Gerindra lebih dari kali lipat dan ‘Rhoma effect’. Inilah yang membuat hadirnya kritikan ke Puan Maharani, Ketua Bappilu PDIP yang kurang mampu menjual figur Jokowi untuk menaikkan suara PDIP. Penggemar Jokowi tidak mampu dikonsolidasikan untuk memilih PDIP.

Tidak kalah menarik dicermati adalah  dua partai yang tersangkut isu korupsi, perolehannya menurun. Paling parah penurunan dialami Partai Demokrat yang kehilangan 12% pemilih. PKS, diluar dugaan hanya kehilangan sebagian kecil pemilihnya dibandingkan dengan Pemilu 2009.

Ada fenomena baru dimana KB mampu menaikkan suaranya hampir dua kali lipat. Ada beberapa faktor yang mungkin berpengaruh.  (1). PKB mampu mengonsolidasi pemilihnya yang sebelumnya tersebar di beberapa partai yang tidak lolos verifikasi seperti PKNU. (2). PKB cerdik memilih vote getter, yaitu Rhoma Irama untuk golongan tua dan Ahmad Dhani untuk pemilih muda. (3). Hadirnya Rusdi Kirana, pemilik Lion Air yang suntikkan dana cukup besar ke konstituen PKB di Jawa Timur. (4). Konstituen sudah lupa terhadap konflik Muhaimin-Gus Dur. Continue reading “Catatan Pemilu Legislatif 2014”