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Cablegate: East Java Governor's Election: Weak Party Loyalty Leads To

VZCZCXRO6082
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0088/01 2071036
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251036Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0261
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0247
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0139
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0139
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0266

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000088

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, DRL, DRL/AHW, EAP/PD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI KISL ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA GOVERNOR'S ELECTION: WEAK PARTY LOYALTY LEADS TO
RUNOFF ELECTION

REF: SURABAYA 51: POLITICS IN EAST JAVA'S LARGEST MUSLIM ORGANIZATION

SURABAYA 00000088 001.2 OF 002


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1. (SBU) Summary: Based on quick count results, it appears
likely East Java governor's election will go to a second round
after no candidate garnered 30% of the vote in a five ticket
race. Soekarwo-Syaifullah Yusuf -- supported by the National
Mandate Party (PAN), Party Democrat (PD), and the Prosperous
Justice Party (PKS) -- and Khofifah Indar Parawansa-Mudjiono --
supported by the United Development Party (PPP), the Patriot
Party, and a coalition of smaller parties -- received the most
first-round votes and will compete head-to-head in the runoff.
It's unclear when the runoff will take place, as election
officials admit to logistical difficulties and limitations
created by the upcoming Ramadan holiday period. In a race
dominated by candidate popularity rather than party loyalty, the
runoff is expected to be very close. The election results
offered little comfort to the largest national parties (Golkar,
PDI-P, and PKB) after all three sets of candidates were
eliminated. As voters once again demonstrate their willingness
to ignore party dictates, national party leaders will need to
reevaluate their strategies for success in advance of the 2009
parliamentary and presidential elections. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The results of the July 23 East Java governor's
election continue to be analyzed as the final votes are counted.
According to quick counts conducted by several polling
institutions, the team of Soekarwo-Syaifullah Yusuf garnered the
most votes, with the team of Khofifah Indar Parawansw-Mudjiono
coming second. Although one quick count put Soekarwo above the
necessary 30% threshold to avoid a runoff, all other quick votes
suggest a runoff will be necessary. The first round eliminated
the candidates from Golkar, Megawati's Indonesian Party of
Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gus Dur faction of the National
Awakening Party (PKB). The East Java Election Commission plans
to officially announce the results on August 4.

Personal Popularity Trumps Party Loyalty
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) Most observers credit Soekarwo's and Khofifah's strong
showings on personal popularity rather than party loyalty. The
disarray within Gus Dur's PKB and competing centers of power
within Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) helped fracture this traditionally
solid block of votes. Khofifah, head of the women's division of
NU and a former Minister of Women's Empowerment, reportedly
garnered almost 33% of PKB voters and drew the majority of
female votes. Long-time civil administrator Soekarwo, teamed
with Gus Dur's estranged nephew Syaifullah Yusuf, who is also
the head of National NU's youth organization Ansor, garnered
support from across the political spectrum.

4. (SBU) The East Java elections offered little good news for
the largest national parties Golkar, PDI-P, and PKB. The Golkar
team, pairing the East Java party chairman and former Vice
Governor Soenarjo with former East Java NU Chairman Ali Maschan
Moesa, finished a disappointing fourth, garnering less than
20%of the vote. Reportedly, only 50% of Golkar voters supported
their candidate. Soenarjo was an uninspiring candidate who
generated little enthusiasm with the party or among East Java's
voters. Additionally, running mate Ali Maschan's disagreements
with NU clerics probably limited his ability to draw NU voters
to Soenarjo's cause. Gus Dur's hand-picked PKB candidate
Achmady, the little known regent of Mojokerto, finished dead
last, with less than 8% of the vote. Only 16% of PKB voters
supported the party's candidate; 32% supported Khofifah and 30%
supported Soekarwo. PDI-P's candidate Sutjipto fared better,
with approximately 21% of the total vote and solid party-member
support, but he did not attract disaffected voters from other
parties. PKS, known for the loyalty of its cadres, was not
unified behind the party's candidate -- only 48% voted for
Soekarwo; 24% voted for Khofifah. Once again, however, as a
party, PKS threw its support behind a winning team.

Prospects for the Runoff
--------------------------------

5. (SBU) Prospects for both candidates in a runoff are unclear.
Soekarwo's team believes they can attract supporters from Golkar
and PDI-P, whose candidate Sutjipto finished a close third.
Khofifah supporters believe she will draw support from
traditional conservative voters in the horseshoe shaped region
of Tapal Kuda and the island of Madura, although both Khofifah
and Soekarwo did well in these areas during the first round.

SURABAYA 00000088 002.2 OF 002


Voter turnout in the first round was lower than expected -- 61%.
In Surabaya, turnout was even lower -- 50%. Voter apathy may
increase further. Election officials suggest that a runoff
could not be organized in less than three months; they
anticipate holding the election in late October, after the
fasting month of Ramadan. Complicating matters further, the
election commission's term expires at the end of September.
MCCLELLAND

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