Indonesia Ends Campaign Period, Bracing For Elections Nationwide

by Abu Hanifah

JAKARTA, Indonesia, April 16 (NNN-XINHUA) – The presidential campaign has ended peacefully in Indonesia, before the national election day on Wednesday (tomorrow) that would choose the country’s next leader and new parliament members.

Concluding a long campaign period started from Sept last year, incumbent President, Joko Widodo, and his arch-rival Prabowo Subianto, had their last debate that discussed economic strategies to govern the nation broadcast live on Saturday evening.

Months prior to the last debate, the two rivalling candidates and their running mates have actively visited areas across the country, to attract potential voters in the upcoming elections, which will be a rematch between the two after the 2014 polls, when Widodo won with a landslide victory.

Getting more support from major political parties in his camp, President Widodo picked influential Muslim cleric, Ma’ruf Amin, as his running mate in the elections this year.

Prabowo, a former army general, picked young businessman, Sandiaga Uno, who is former deputy Jakarta governor, as his sidekick, to contest the presidential election this time. Prabowo is now supported by hard-line Islamic organisations and fewer political parties than in 2014.

The elections this year is viewed as the hardest in the nation’s history, as communal conflict may occur over sensitive issues used by both rivalling parties.

Supporters of the two presidential candidates have utilised very sensitive issues to denounce their rivals, coupled with rampant false and fabricated information widely circulated on social media.

Indonesia’s General Elections Commission (KPU) said, over 190 million eligible voters have registered to vote, in 524 regencies and municipalities across the country.

Starting an early voting, Indonesian nationals living overseas have cast their ballots. The KPU has done the polling process in 130 cities across the world for over two million voters since April 8.

“Vote counting for elections held in foreign countries will be conducted simultaneously with that of in Indonesia on April 17,” KPU Commissioner Hasyim Asy’ari said.

Opinion polls favoured President Widodo winning the elections. The incumbent leader obtained over 50 percent votes in most of surveys held by polling agencies in the country.– NNN-XINHUA