Roundup: Indonesia ends campaign period, bracing for elections nationwide

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 16, 2019
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by Abu Hanifah

JAKARTA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The presidential campaign has ended peacefully in Indonesia before the national election day on Wednesday that would choose the country's next leader and new parliament members.

Concluding a long campaign period started from September 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 rivaling 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 supports 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 hardline Islamic organizations and fewer political parties than in 2014.

The elections in Indonesia this year is viewed as the hardest one in the nation's history as communal conflict may occur over sensitive issues used by both rivaling parties on social media.

"The situation has led to polarization between two camps that leads to potential conflict," said intelligence and security expert Stanislaus Riyanta.

Supporters of the two presidential candidates have utilized 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 last week.

Opinion polls favored President Widodo winning the upcoming elections. The incumbent leader obtained over 50 percent votes in most of surveys held by polling agencies in the country. Enditem

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