‘Don’t tamper with Jakarta election,’ warns police chief

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More than 100,000 Indonesians descended on Jakarta’s grand mosque on Saturday to call on people to vote for Muslim candidates running against the city’s incumbent Christian governor this Wednesday. Video: CGTN

By Bayu Marhaenjati and Eko Prasetyo in Jakarta

Jakarta police chief Inspector-Gen. M. Iriawan has sent a strong message to those who would tamper with Jakarta’s gubernatorial election and disrupt order.

In a ceremony at the National Monument, or Monas, in Central Jakarta, which also saw acting governor Sumarsono and Jakarta military chief Major-General Teddy Lakshmana, Iriawan said the success of the election on Wednesday was in the hands of the government and members of the public.

Jakarta police chief Inspector-General M. Iriawan (left) on Saturday sent a strong warning over Jakarta’s gubernatorial election. Image: Aprillio Akbar/Antara

“No one should mess around with Jakarta, else they’ll face me, the Jakarta military chief and all residents of the city,” Iriawan said.

“Jakarta is a barometer for Indonesia. The government and residents of Jakarta want a safe, smooth and peaceful election,” he added.

Iriawan also said that the police and military officials were expected to maintain neutrality. He asked his officers to cooperate well with the military and the city’s administration.

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“The synergy among us [the police], the military and regional administration is a role model for all military-police units in Indonesia,” Iriawan said, adding that their joint efforts should prioritise prevention and early detection of all possible disruptions.

“Observe the situation and secure it, so that no intimidation, money politics, manipulation or cheating takes place. We heard from the intelligence that money politics is possible. Arrest all who employ it and coordinate with the Bawaslu [Election Supervisory Agency],” he said.

Police deploy 30,000
More than 30,000 members of the military, police and municipal police [Satpol PP] will be deployed to safeguard the election.

“From the police, there are 23,000, from the military 5000; the public may feel safe,” Iriawan said.

Iriawan said the police and military will safeguard distribution of ballots to the polling stations across the city.

“No one should ban the officers from entering polling stations. I will take the responsibility. They bear no weapons and their duty is to safeguard the process in accordance with the law,” Iriawan said.

Saturday was the final day of campaigning for Wednesday’s vote in the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, where ethnic Chinese Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is facing two prominent Muslim challengers.

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