This is a typical Indonesianism: Pilihan Kepala Daerah Jawa Tengah, meaning Gubernatorial Election for Central Java, which took place over the weekend. We won’t have full results for several days, but the early returns suggest that the ticket from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) will win. The PDI-P is a nationalist and secular party, and Central Java has a population of about 32 million people, so this election alone involves as many people as elections in the entire countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. The PDI-P performed much better than the Islamist parties contesting the elections: out of the five tickets contesting, Islamists were 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The article claims that the three Islamist tickets split the Muslim vote, but this simply cannot be true–to have won 44% of the vote, PDI-P must have won more Muslim votes than these three parties combined. These elections may reflect what’s to come for the PDI-P in the 2009 general elections: if it can turn out this many supporters in a gubernatorial election, they may be able to
fair fare (thanks Mom) just as well across Indonesia when contesting against an incumbent president reeling from inflation.
Incidentally, there is a funny thing that you can see in the Jakarta Post article that I linked to above. It references the "Indonesian Survey Circle," or LSI (Lingkaran Survei Indonesia). I am affiliated with another survey research firm called LSI here in Indonesia, the Indonesian Survey Institute (Lembaga Survei Indonesia). Needless to say that you don’t want to get your LSIs mixed up. They even have nearly identical webpages: http://www.lsi.or.id (Lembaga) and http://www.lsi.co.id (Lingkaran) and with two executive directors who have political science PhDs from Ohio State (Saiful and Denny). Both also employ a technology that they call "quick count" in order to make quick predictions about election winners. Important to keep these two organizations straight.