Indonesia’s President may retain title says early results
Indonesians had to choose from over 2,50,000 candidates for 20,538 legislative seats in just a span of six hours.
Indonesians voted in the country’s biggest ever election on 17 April. This was the world’s most complicated one-day election.
Early results showed that President Joko Widodo was heading for a second five-year term. Data based on a partial count of samples from polling stations showed that Widodo was winning more than half of the vote and his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, was over 10 percentage points behind him.
The country set up 8,10,329 polling stations for a total of 192.8 million eligible voters. Over half the eligible voters are at most 40 years old. Over 10,000 volunteers will crowdsource the election results to ensure a fraudulent free election.
One voter, five ballots
The presidential and parliamentary elections are being held on the same day for the first time. Indonesians had to choose from over 2,50,000 candidates for 20,538 legislative seats in just a span of six hours.
Voters cast their votes not just for their president and vice president but also for members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).
There were five colours of ballots in the polling booths: the grey colour for president and vice president, yellow for DPR, red for DPD, blue for provincial-level Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) and green for municipality-level DPRD.
Joko Widodo—popularly known as Jokowi—is a former businessman who entered politics 14 years ago. Widodo is up against Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces military commander.
In the 2014 elections, Jokowi won 23 out of 33 provinces. Prabowo was defeated by a mere six percentage points.
While Jokowi promised to create 100 million jobs if re-elected, Prabowo promised tax cuts and a plan to revive Indonesia’s manufacturing industry. Ultimately, boosting Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is the key goal for both candidates.
Jokowi made efforts to form coalitions with religious parties. His move to make Ma’ruf Amin—a 76-year-old conservative Islamic cleric—his Vice-presidential candidate was a part of his strategy to appeal to conservatives. In the last five years, Widodo has boosted the country’s infrastructure that improved access to markets. He has promised to generate 100 million jobs in the next five years, increase spending on education, and lead Indonesia to developed country status.
On the other hand, Prabowo recruited Sandiaga Uno, a former private equity manager as his running mate. He has reached out to the country’s 40 million farmers, assuring them of a better quality of life as they face a drastic drop in income. He has also pledged to reduce corporate and individual taxes.
While economic growth and improvement in infrastructure are what the people want, their major concern is the role of religion. Indonesia has no official state religion. Yet, over 80 percent of the country is Muslim. According to the country’s constitution, there is no restriction on anyone practicing any faith. Recently, the country has seen the rise of conservative religious groups which has caused concern among the progressive citizens. This election will define the country’s national identity.