Friends and Neighbours: Electoral Geography of 2020 Local Election in Metro City, Lampung, Indonesia

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Friends and Neighbours: Electoral Geography of 2020 Local Election in Metro City, Lampung, Indonesia

Arizka Warganegara 1,*, Ari Darmastuti 1, Hertanto Hertanto 1, R Sigit Krisbintoro 1, Muhammad Febriansyah 2, Wahyu Tyas Pramono 3

1 Department of Government Studies, Lampung University, Kota Bandar Lampung, Lampung 35141, Indonesia

2 School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Gelugor, Penang , Malaysia

3 Faculty of Geography, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, Surakarta, Central Java 57139, Indonesia

*) Correspondence: arizka.warganegara@fisip.unila.ac.id

This article discusses local political dynamics in Indonesia, notably in the city of Metro. There are several factors why a particular candidate is more politically electable than others, including ethno-religious factors and money. Moreover, a traditional factor that needs to be considered in the study of electoral geography is the influence of the spatial effect upon voting behaviour. In the election, demographics and geography are two important factors in voting behaviour. The local election resulted in a competitive and dynamic political contest among the local elite in Metro. The result of the 2020 local election was particularly interesting because the independent candidate won and defeated the party-based candidate. This is a mixed methods approach combining the data from interviews and a qualitative survey. This research aims to analyse the spatial factor in Metro’s local election, looking at why a certain candidate won in a particular area and how the geographical factor influenced voting behaviour. Secondly, the result of the qualitative survey supported the finding that voters still consider ethno-religious factor. The finding obtained by this research reveals two significant narratives, specifically the crucial factor of ethno-religious sentiment on voting preference and the spatial factor related to residency in securing a victory for the candidate in the local election. Essentially, research concludes that the spatial factor is of importance in the context of Metro’s local election and supports Woolstencroft's (1980) classical concept of electoral geography comprising “friends and neighbours”.

Keywords: Metro City, local election, electoral geography, spatial factor.

1. Introduction

The victory achieved by the independent candidate in Metro during the 2020 local elections was a historic and remarkable moment. Since the beginning of the local elections in 2005, candidates from political parties have always won. However, 2020 was the first occasion the independent candidate won the local election. Furthermore, elite pragmatism and political funding are the principal factors contributing to make local elections dynamic, competitive and pragmatic. Many factors determine a candidate's victory in the local elections. Most research has argued that there are several factors that influence the final result local election in Indonesia, for example political networks, money, besides ethnicity and religion, (Aspinall, 2011; Aspinall & Berenschot, 2019; Aspinall et al., 2011; Aspinall et al., 2017; Aspinall & Sukmajati, 2016).

The impact of the vast presidential campaigns that exploited ethno-religious sentiment in 2014 and 2019 successfully divided politics in Indonesia into two groups, specifically those people who support Joko Widodo (the current Indonesian President) and who are known as cebong (tadpoles), besides those who are against him and called kampret (young bats) (Fatma et al., 2019; Heriyanto, 2019; Prayitno et al., 2019). In the local context, the narratives are similar, wherein the candidates ethnicity and religion can influence the voters’ voting preference. The case of the local elections held in Medan and Jakarta have provided evidence that ethno-religious sentiments are fundamental in Indonesian elections. In addition, the case of the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017, is arguably a crucial account of the existence of ethno-religious factors on voting behaviour in Indonesia (Mujani, 2020; Nugroho, 2018; Sumaktoyo, 2021). What about with respect to the local election conducted in Metro? The result of the qualitative survey also suggests that the ethno-religious factor continues to have a considerable impact on voters’ political preferences. Essentially, roughly 71% of the respondents asserted that ethno-religious background is significant. Notwithstanding that the result of the survey cannot be generalised, it has provided an evidence that ethno-religious factors pertaining to Metro’s local election.

Moreover, the local election in Metro has demonstrated that the independent candidate still has an opportunity to win, despite the fact that statistical data has concluded that the independent candidate is less likely to do so. According to data, only six out of 68 pairs of independent candidates won at the local elections in 2020 (Syambudi, 2020), representing a success rate of only 8.8% as regards independent candidates across Indonesia. The overall result of the local election in Metro in 2020 determined that the independent candidates, Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman, won the election by 29.1% of the total votes. They were followed by Anna Morinda and Fritz Akhmad Nuzir with 27.8%.

There is a dearth of studies focusing on electoral geography in the context of Indonesia (Fossati, 2020; Yandri, 2017), despite it being a popular subject in Europe and the US. Electoral geography is applied to understand how the geography factor in a particular area influences the result of elections. In addition, Forest (2018) argued for three key approaches in the study of electoral geography, positing that “the geography of voting (mapping and visualising votes), geographic influences on voting (the effect of place on political preferences and behaviour), and the geography of representation (the analysis of electoral systems)” are the primary foci of studies in electoral geography. In other contexts, several of the studies involving electoral geography focus on the Ukraine, for instance Clem and Craumer (2008). In Britain, research pertaining to electoral geography is popular and becoming an important aspect of study in politics and geography. A study regarding the electoral geography of England and Wales focusing on the voting behaviour of the Labour and Conservative Party was undertaken by Furlong (2019). In this study, Furlong revealed several characteristics with respect to Labour and Conservative Party members. He concluded that between 1979 and 2017, there has been no fundamental change in voter characteristics concerning these two parties: the majority of “Conservatives have gained support at Labour's expense in largely older, white, working class constituencies”, while the Labour Party has secured support in areas where unemployment and poverty are high. 

This paper does not attempt to explain the factors which caused an independent candidate to win in Metro’s local election This paper aims to answer questions vis-à-vis how ethno-religious sentiment and spatial factors played a role in Metro’s local election. Moreover, this paper endeavours to explain, first, the result of a qualitative survey that provides confirmation data related to the essential factor of ethno-religious-based politics in Metro, and second, to clarify that the spatial factor was the determining factor in the candidate's victory in Metro’s local election. Similarly, no research has been unearthed to date that focuses on electoral geography by taking a case study from Metro. In regard to this particular field of study, this research is novel. Arguably, this type of study is rare, principally in the context of local elections in Indonesia, and in the context of Metro in particular.

2. Research Methods

Metro is a valuable study site as regards the local elections in Indonesia, notably because the location was previously impacted by a prolonged transmigration programme. The transmigration programme aimed to move people from densely populated areas to less densely populated ones, chiefly outside Java. The result is not only an extremely mixed society but also conditions in which the local population has become an ethnic, and occasionally religious, minority in its own homeland. Metro, however, is the only city founded entirely by means of transmigration in the Dutch colonial era that remains well-established to this day explains that the Dutch colonial administration established a similar city, a venture that failed due to a financial crisis. From this perspective, Metro therefore could claim to be the only successful city established for people relocating from the densely populated island of Java. It is of course no longer a destination for transmigration, given that the programme is obsolete. While there was a certain amount of transmigration to the city, from Bali as well as Java, after independence, the largest single coordinated movement of people occurred in the late 1930s.

Prior to relocating people from Java to Metro, the Dutch colonial authorities began with a prolonged campaign concerning the success of the first transmigration programme to Gedong Tataan in Pesawaran Regency, near Bandar Lampung. In 1935, they initially relocated 1,386 families from Gedong Tataan to Metro. This was followed by the relocation of 3,300 families from Java in 1936. To assist those people who had been relocated to adapt and feel at home, the colonial authorities divided Metro into dwelling areas or bedeng, equal in status and similar to a village. In principle, people that relocated used terms based on where they came from in Java and used Javanese terms to name the villages, such as Adipuro and Hadimulyo. The bedeng were divided into four administrative areas (Ilham et al., 2016; Muzakki, 2014)

Metro located in the central part of Lampung Province, covers an area of 68.74 square kilometres. It shares borders with two other regencies, specifically Central Lampung and East Lampung. According to the 2010 census, 145,471 people live in Metro, of whom 73,027 are male and 72,444 female (Central Statistical Bureau of Indonesia, 2013) (see Table 1). The majority of the inhabitants work in the government and agriculture sectors whilst others are business owners. Metro is known within Lampung as a city with high levels of education. It has the highest proportion of children attending school in Lampung (Central Statistical Bureau of Indonesia, 2015). The government divides schooling into three categories, namely elementary school (from 7 to 12), junior high school (from 13 to 15) and senior high school (from 16 to 18). In 2014, participation was 100% for elementary and junior high schools, whilst for senior high schools it was 83.4% (ibid). Metro comprises five districts, each governed by a district head and 22 urban settlements (ibid) (see Figure 1). Geographically, Metro consists of five districts: Central Metro, West Metro, East Metro, South Metro and North Metro. Likewise, the result of the 2020 local election has also revealed the significance of the spatial factor for a particular candidate to win the election in this city.

Table 1. Population in Metro by ethnic group.

Ethnicity

Number

Percentage

Javanese

104,590

71.8

Lampungese

14,015

10

Ethnic groups from South Sumatra

6,418

4

Minangkabau (West Sumatra)

4,821

3

Sundanese

4,459

3

Chinese

3,306

2

Bantenese

3,247

2

Other ethnicities

1,676

1.1

Batak (North Sumatra)

1,255

0.8

Unanswered

1,108

0.7

Balinese

469

0.3

Bugis (South Sulawesi)

107

0.07

Total

145,471

100

Source: Warganegara (2018)

Figure 1. Map of Metro (Warganegara, 2018)

As a transmigration destination established by the Dutch colonial administration in the 1930s, it is also important to notice that ethno-based politics is a conspicuous characteristic regarding Metro (Warganegara, 2018; Warganegara & Waley, 2021). Methodologically, this research is based on a qualitative survey and interviews conducted with several participants. The data collection process involved two separate stages. The preliminary stage included undertaking a qualitative survey of the voters. Qualitative sampling was conducted using non-probability sampling methods and focusing on the voters that participated in the Metro’s local election in 2020. Concerning the methodology, the qualitative survey was employed to provide the initial data, prior to completing the interview with the interviewees as the primary source of the research (Deakin University, 2023). Secondly, to develop and support the survey data, we conducted interviews with a number of the participants. Currently, there is no research that addresses Metro’s politics which applies a combination of two distinct data collection methods, the qualitative survey and interviews. This data combination is particularly vital when reaching a conclusion as regards the phenomenon of ethno-religious-based politics in Metro. The data analysis is based on concept-drawn theory, which consists of two separate data analysis stages. Data gathered from the qualitative survey was employed to provide an initial understanding of Metro’s local election. Subsequently, the interviews were conducted. The interview questions were based on several questions with the aim of obtaining more comprehensive information. 

In addition, interviewees were chosen based on purposive sampling and based on several criteria, such as their bureaucratic knowledge, position within the government and their political role. Thus, those who participated are politicians, activists and voters. The politicians were selected based on their knowledge of particular issues related to day-to-day politics within the Metro, while activists and voters were chosen to understand the perception of the non-elite group (the ordinary person), concerning Metro’s local election. In this context, this research has sought to cover the issue from both perspectives, elite and non-elite groups. As regards the qualitative survey, of the 86 people involved in this study, 52% are female and 47.7% male. Most are aged between 17 and 25 (58.1% in total), followed by those aged between 31 and 35 (11.6%) and from 26 to 30 (9%). Most are young voters. In terms of religion, 95.3% are Muslims, 2.3% are Protestant and 1.2% are Catholics and Hindus. In terms of profession, most are students (40.7%), followed by entrepreneurs (25.6%), private employees (15.1%) and civil servants and traders (2.3% each).

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Qualitative survey: Data pertaining to ethno-religious politics in Metro

The section on results and discussion will be divided into two parts. The first part comprises qualitative data pertaining to the description of ethno-religious factors in Metro’s local election, whereas the second part explores how the spatial factor plays an important role for a particular candidate in the local election. In this paper, we limited the analysis by examining two individual factors, for instance the ethno-religious and spatial factors. We analyse the role of the political party and how voters have engaged politically with the party and how this engagement influences their political preference in the local election. 

Additionally, we understand that the successful team has a responsibility to support their candidate in their bid to be elected. Nevertheless, we could not disregard those who exploit the ethno-religious factor as part of the ‘campaign menu’ as long as it is performed in an appropriate and honest way. Neither could we ignore the fact that a voter tends to vote for a candidate based on similar religious or ethnic backgrounds. In the case of India, Malaysia or even the US presidential election (Berland Kaul, 2013; Chandra, 2000; Gramlich, 2020; Kheng, 2005; Pepinsky, 2015), it has been demonstrated that ethno-religious sentiments are effective and a factor that voters consider. Therefore, in this situation, we contend that the capability of each successful team to mobilise voters is a fundamental aspect. However, how do they manage this as “a clue to win the game” without it causing deep-rooted conflict within society?

Regarding Indonesia, discussing ethno-politics results in various answers. Since the first direct election in 2004, no one originating from a double-minority background has been selected as a candidate (either for president and vice president). For example, there has not been a candidate from the non-Muslim Indonesian Chinese community. The elite pragmatism that tends to secure victory and avoids risking defeat and the strong ethno-religious sentiment of the majority of voters are the principal factors that reduce the role of double-minority candidates in political competition.

In the context of the Indonesian election, the ethno-religious factor is repeatedly employed by the successful candidate’s team to attract voters. Why might this occur? Ethno-religious sentiment is a crucial factor in winning every election in Indonesia, be it at the national or local election. Capitalising on it is unsatisfactory, but it has a convincing impact on the voter because “the political space” between presidential candidates and most voters is far wider in comparison with the candidates in the local election, for example. This is a situation that Chandra (2007) argues is related to “limited information, a situation where ethnicity becomes a substantial factor that can influence voter decisions. Capitalising on the ethno-religious sentiment is an easy way for candidates to persuade voters. This sort of campaign could easily be conducted by means of social media.

If we apply Horowitz's (2014) primordial ethnic politics approach, the majority will always obtain the political advantage in this sort of competition. Conceivably, this is too much of a simplified argument because there are undoubtedly several factors that can change the final result of a forthcoming election. However, research by Pepinsky (2019) supports the scenario in which the ethno-religious factor has played a considerable part in previous presidential elections in Indonesia.

In terms of Lampung, in particular Metro, ethno-based politics is a fundamental story line as a result of the lengthy transmigration policy. The relationship between the geography, ethnicity and spatial factors have helped to construct the everyday politics of particular areas in Lampung, such as Metro and East Lampung districts. In these two locations, the feeling of being a Javanese transmigrant and a particular ethnicity are significant concerns. In Metro, it is the Javanese who are the dominant ethnic group (see Table 1). Consequently, daily politics is strongly influenced by the Javanese-based orientation either culturally or politically. 

The issue of ethno-religious based politics also occurs in the context of Metro’s local election. The qualitative survey asked the respondents whether they consider the reasons for choosing a particular candidate to be based on their ability and quality, along with their leadership record. Over 90% of the respondents answered that they definitely take into account the candidate’s leadership history, while a few (only 9%) answered that the candidate’s leadership record is not particularly important. The survey also asked whether they are concerned about ethno-religion as a factor in electing a particular candidate. The result is quite intriguing, denoting that a sizeable number consider the issue of ethno-religion to be important: 71% revealed that they have voted for a particular candidate because of their ethnic background and sentiment, while 29% have not considered this an important factor in respect to voting. Essentially, the result of this survey indicates that the issue of ethnicity remains important for voters in Metro. One participant confirmed this trend stating:

“Indeed, ethnicity is an important factor in the context of Metro’s local election. As the candidate and local, I always use the sentiment of local Metro for Metro’s Mayor. I wear topi caping (farmer’s hat) and use Javanese language to socialise my programme. I use it because the majority of Metro are Javanese (INT5)”.

This qualitative survey is in line with previous research conducted by Warganegara & Waley (2021), demonstrating that the ethno-based politics pattern in Metro is the consequence of the prolonged implementation of the transmigration programme in this city. Mixed marriage among Javanese and Lampungese and Javanese with other ethnicities have supported the idea of ethno-based politics in Metro. This result is supported by Sumaktoyo (2021), who cites the importance of ethnicity and religious background for candidates in Indonesian elections. Finally, the qualitative survey supports data from the interviews and the local political dynamics in Metro. Basically, being an independent candidate is not the sole factor in a local election victory. There were additional factors, such as spatial, financial and political network, as well as the ethno-religious issue that contributed to the victory of this pair in the local election. The following section explores the influence of the spatial factor in the success of each pair in the local election.

3.2. West versus North: Metro’s Electoral Geography

After virtually 20 years of implementing local elections in Metro, the independent candidate won the local election. Brancati (2008) stated that “the one defining characteristic of all independent candidates is that they are not affiliated with any political party, which is a major obstacle to their electoral success since parties serve a number of functions”. Wahdi and Qomaro Zaman won the local election by defeating the party-based candidate. The qualitative survey obtained the reason for the voters’ choice of the independent candidate in Metro’s local election in 2020. In the qualitative survey, certain respondents maintained that an significant reason for choosing the independent candidate was because of their independence from the political influence of the political party.

In this context, the participants believe that this independence will make the elected person more autonomous in the governing process in contrast to the party-based candidate. This argument is supported and echoed by one participant, who asserted: “I do not believe in the party-supported candidate. In short, I do not believe in the party anymore so I choose the independent candidate (INT1)”. Similarly, a university student believes that “by choosing the independent candidate, the elected candidate will be not controlled by party politics” (INT2, similar to INT3). 

Figure 2. Spatial Distribution of the Local Election Result in Metro (Each Region).

Moreover, the survey data supported the previous question, indicating that the majority of the respondents (69.6%) voted for the independent candidate because the candidate would be less likely to be influenced or controlled by a political party. Regarding the respondents, 47.8% voted for the independent pair for intellectual reasons, 43.5% voted for the candidate’s ability to lead and their vision, whereas 13% chose the independent pair owing to their previous governmental experience. From this perspective, Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman gained an advantage from their position as the independent candidates; Wahdi is also a government employee and lecturer, and furthermore has considerable experience of running government. 

Based on the final result of the election, an analysis of the spatial effect of the final result based on the territoriality factor can be performed. Metro consists of five districts, each district has different political, demographic and geographic characteristics. Based on the spatial factor, the result of Metro’s 2020 local election presented two distinct results relating to the “political territory” belonging to each candidate. The Central Metro, North Metro and South Metro districts are the political territory of Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman. However, West Metro and East Metro District are the political base for Anna Morinda and Fritz Ahmad Nuzir (see Table 2, Figure 2).

If the results are broken down based on urban village: the results confirm that the pair supported by the PDIP and its party coalition won the votes of a total of 2,253 voters in Metro urban village. The independent candidate secured second position, with 2,044 votes. In third place is the pair from Golkar Party and its coalition, who secured 1,893 votes. Finally, the candidates from PKS and its coalition obtained 1,617 votes in total (see Table 3, Figure 3).

To sum up, Anna Morinda and Fritz Akhmad Nuzir’s data according to the urban village results in the Central Metro District: they won the local election in the three urban villages of Metro, Imopuro and West Hadimulyo. Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman won the local election in two urban villages, East Hadimulyo and Yosomulyo.

Table 2. Overall Result of Metro’s Local Election for all Sub-Districts.

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Central Metro

8,444

6,276

6,578

8,439

North Metro

5,874

3,726

4,047

4,209

West Metro

4,977

2,271

3,962

5,050

East Metro

5,599

5,182

5,779

6,059

South Metro

3,361

1,676

2,317

3,256

Total

28,255

19,131

22,683

27,013

Table 3. The Result of the Local Election in Central Metro District

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Metro

2,044

1,617

1,893

2,253

East Hadimulyo

1,855

1,053

1,311

1,423

Imopuro

824

775

759

1,080

West Hadimulto

1,835

1,596

1,564

2,317

Yosomulyo

1,886

1,235

1,051

1,366

Total

8,444

6,276

6,578

8,439

Figure 3. SpatialDistribution of the Local Election Result in South Metro District.

However, the results in the South Metro District are noticeably different. In this district, Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman secured the most votes with 3,361, compared to Anna Morinda and Fritz Akhmad Nuzir who received only 3,256 (see Table 4). The gap between both pairs is relatively narrow. However, Anna Morinda and Fritz Ahmad Nuzir only won in Sumber Sari urban village, whilst Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman won the local election in three urban villages: Rejomulyo, Margorejo and Margodadi.

Table 4. The Result of the Local Election in South Metro Sub-District.

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Rejomulyo

1,052

645

886

850

Margorejo

957

477

665

927

Sumber Sari

678

307

409

813

Margodadi

674

247

357

666

Total

Total

1676

2317

3256

Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman also secured victory in the North Metro Sub-District. This pair obtained 5,874 votes, compared to Anna Morinda and Fritz Ahmad Nuzir, who captured 4,209 votes (see Table 5). In this case, the difference in the result in this area between these two pairs is quite significant. Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman won the local election in four urban villages: Banjarsari, Purwosari, Karang Rejo and Purwoasri.

Table 5. The Result of the Local Election in North Metro Sub-District.

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Banjarsari

2,236

1,348

1,155

1,943

Purwosari

1,068

843

765

684

Karang Rejo

1,746

1,191

1,510

1,122

Purwoasri

824

344

617

455

Total

5,874

3,726

4,047

4,204

However, a different result transpired in the sub-districts of East Metro and West Metro. In these districts, Anna Morinda and Fritz Akhmad Nuzir won the local election by securing 5,050 votes in West Metro and 6,059 votes in East Metro, respectively (see Table 6). In the East Metro District, Anna Morinda and Fritz Akhmad Nuzir won the election in three urban villages, specifically Yosodadi, Iring Mulyo and Yosorejo, while Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman won in Tejosari Urban Village.

Table 6. The Result of the Local Election in East Metro Sub-District.

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra Pahlawan

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Yosoadi

1,127

1,176

1,578

1,354

Tejosari

799

405

499

473

Iring Mulyo

1,631

1,798

1,675

2,351

Yosorejo

931

1,035

1,132

981

Tejo Agung

1,111

768

895

900

Total

5,599

5,182

5,779

6,059

To sum up the election result data associated with Anna Morinda and Fritz Pairs in West Metro: they won the majority of voters by securing a total of 5,050 votes, compared to 5,000 votes for Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman. Based on data pertaining to the West Metro Sub-District, Anna Morinda and Fritz Ahmad Nuzir won the local election in two urban villages: Banjar Agung and Mulyosari, whereas Wahdi and Qomaru Zaman won the local election in two urban villages: Mulyojati and Ganjar Asri (see Table 7).

Table 7. The Result of the Local Election in West Metro Sub-District.

Region

Wahdi & Qomaru Zaman

Ahmad Mufti Salim & Saleh Chandra Pahlawan

Ampian Bustami & Rudy Santoso

Anna Morinda & Fritz Akhmad Nuzir

Mulyojati

1,535

644

1,258

1,014

Banjar Agung

1,219

541

860

1,574

Mulyosari

481

206

440

1,097

Ganjar Asri

1,765

880

1,404

1,365

Total

5,000

2,271

3,962

5,050

Figure 4. The Distribution of Voters for Successful Candidates.

The data revealed above provides evidence that the residential place factor plays a significant role in the Metro election. The candidate's victory is determined by where the particular candidate is living (see Figure 4). For example, Anna Morinda, a candidate from the PDI-P coalition, won the majority vote in West Metro Sub-District, a location where she has lived for many years, whilst Wahdi obtained the highest number of votes in his residence of North Metro Sub-District. This finding reveals that spatial factors were a concern in the context of the local election in Metro in 2020. This argument is supported by one of the interviewees, who asserts “it is indeed true that the location where the candidate lives matters. It is important to note that Anna Morinda lives in West Metro sub-district, where she won the majority of votes. There is a similar pattern with respect to Wahdi, the elected candidate in North Metro (INT4). This result supports the classical theory as regards electoral geography which states that “Key used the term friends and neighbours to describe voting in a number of southern American states which was marked by the strong proclivity of electors to support candidates on the basis of personal factors, particularly their residence (Woolstencroft, 1980)”. In this regard, the spatial is a crucial factor in voting behaviour, the psychological aspect of street-based friendship is the factor that leads people to choose a close

 friend or neighbour in a political event, such as an election. Furthermore, Figure 3, confirms that every candidate won in their residency. The case of Metro’s election has led to the conclusion that space matters in dynamic local politics.

In addition, choosing the campaign method is also crucial. The local election in Metro has indicated that, in relation to an urban area, an extensive social media campaign is more effective at raising the awareness of voters than in rural areas of Metro, where the majority of people are less likely to be familiar with social media. In areas such as this, a campaign method employing direct contact between candidates and voters is more adequate and preferential to indirect contact. Geographically, Metro is not that large compared to, for example, Bandar Lampung. This provides a chance for each candidate to meet as many potential voters as possible. With respect to this, the logic applies that the candidates who regularly meet potential voters are more likely to be elected. Likewise, there are other traditional factors contributing to victory in the local election, for instance, financial politics and political network. The spatial issue is not the sole factor. This research has argued that all these factors are complementary to each other. Finally, this is the first study with respect to the electoral geography of Metro. In summary, this research has asserted that the spatial factor matters in relation to Metro and local politics. As this is an initial finding, further research is required to explore this particular issue by employing mixed methods in order to obtain a more comprehensive result. 

4. Conclusion

The circumstances connected with Metro’s local election has revealed two valuable points. First, ethnicity remains a factor in relation to success, notably in the context of a homogenous population, as in the case of Metro. In reality, the majority population will gain a political advantage, and the mode of coalition between majority and minority ethnic groups remains relevant and fits within the context of Metro since the inaugural local election in 2005. Second, the spatial factor matters for each of the candidates who participated in this local election. The result has presented that every candidate won in their own territory (in their residential location). For example, the elected mayor, Wahdi, was able to secure the highest number of voters in the North Metro District, and likewise Anna Morinda in West Metro. The case of Metro’s local election supports the old argument in electoral geography regarding the concept of friends and neighbours (Woolstencroft, 1980). On this matter, future research should focus on the impact spatial factors have on the psychological aspect of voters’ political preferences. Lastly, the study of spatial factors remains important in the context of local elections in Indonesia, as Metro’s local election in 2020 signifies.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledgeanonymous reviewers for insightful feedback.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: Arizka Warga-negara, R Sigit Krisbintoro, Mu-hammad Febriansyah; methodology: Arizka Warganegara, Hertanto Hertanto, R Sigit Krisbin-toro, Muhammad Febriansyah; investigation: Arizka Warganegara, Hertanto Hertanto, R Sigit Krisbin-toro, Muhammad Febriansyah; writing— original draft preparation: Arizka Warganegara, Hertanto Hertanto, R Sigit Krisbin-toro, Muhammad Febriansyah; writing—review and editing: Arizka Warganegara, Ari Dar-mastuti, Hertanto Hertanto, R Sigit Krisbintoro, Muhammad Febri-ansyah , Wahyu Tyas Pramono; visualization: Arizka Warga-negara, Ari Darmastuti, Hertanto Hertanto, R Sigit Krisbintoro, Mu-hammad Febriansyah , Wahyu Tyas Pramono. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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