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Balinese have mixed thoughts on election

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Almost three million voters are eligible to channel their political aspirations in today’s election but they have mixed reactions on the upcoming results.

“Pasti-Kerta [incumbent Made Mangku Pastika-Ketut Sudikerta]. Bali Mandara is safe," shouted children running around their village in Denpasar.

The Pasti-Kerta election anthem broadcast on local radio appealed to the young audience, who sang it every day.

The challengers—AAG Puspayoga and I Dewa Sukrawan, have their own signature song, performed by local rock band Triple X. The provocative song, entitled “Pilih Puspayoga Nak Bali" (Choose Puspayoga Balinese People,) encourages voters to choose these candidates.

Imitating the American presidential election, both pairs of candidates have made extensive use of various social media networks—Twitter, Facebook and other means of communication, to lure voters to choose them.

Despite the candidates’ all-out campaigns, the majority of people in Bali are still uncertain whether their vote will bring more prosperity to the island.

IB Suarmaja, a resident of Denpasar, voiced his pessimism saying the new elected leaders would not change Bali. 

“We beg the new governor to protect Bali from greedy and irresponsible investors. Bali has become a sea of concrete buildings now. The current leader has sold our beloved Bali," Suarmaja complained.

Residents’ voices are being vented through an independent citizen journalism account — akun@balebengong.

Other residents said that many people would go to the polls today because of promises made by candidates. “Whether the promises are true or false, these people vote without their heart or conscience," a resident declared.

Rumors of money politics and promises continued to circulate in the hours before D-Day on May 15.

A resident in Dalung acknowledged that she had been promised Rp 300,000 (US$30.65) to vote for a certain candidate and Rp 50,000 for the other one.

“I was confused but I need the money," said the mother of three, who has never gone to school.

 Meanwhile, some people also voiced optimism.

Khrisna Yudiarta, a resident of Denpasar, said he was optimistic that Balinese voters would be smart and wise.

“They understand the candidates who have proper and good programs for Bali," said Gusti Rai Wiguna.

Agus Sastra, another resident, called on Balinese voters to avoid abstaining.

“I understand that there are no candidates qualified for the posts, but don’t be a Golput [abstainer]," Sastra urged.

Sutir, a taxi driver, was hoping that the new governor would pay attention to the lives of low-income people like him.

“I will vote for a candidate who has compassion and who understands our hardship," the driver said.

Meanwhile, Jeje Prima said that the gubernatorial election was like a war of banners and verbal fights between candidates.

“It was also time for worshipping. All the candidates and supporters visited temples all over the island to ask for blessings from the deities and ancestors to win the election," Prima said.

Cokorda Ngurah Pemayun, provincial administration secretary, called for all private and public institutions, companies and schools to take election day off work.

In Buleleng regency, one of the most conflict-ridden regencies in Bali, Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana has asked his staff and the all village chiefs to remain on high alert.

Buleleng has always been the base of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which endorses one of the candidate tickets.

“The police, the Army, traditional security guards have been employed to safeguard the election and to prevent any possible security disturbances," the regent said.

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Last changed: Thu May 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

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