Tens of thousands of supporters of Indonesia’s presidential contenders yesterday packed final rallies in the capital, Jakarta, and the Central Java city of Solo, as campaigning drew to a close ahead of the world’s biggest single-day election.
Candidates are to enter a cooling off period from today to election day on Wednesday, where three contestants are running to succeed the hugely popular President Joko Widodo, who has led Indonesia for a decade and cannot run again.
The contenders to lead the world’s third-largest democracy are popular former governors Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, and former special forces commander Prabowo Subianto, who has soared in opinion polls with the tacit backing of the president, and with the incumbent’s son as his running mate.
At stake is the leadership for the next five years of a mineral-rich G20 economy of 270 million people positioning itself as a future destination for multinational companies in the electric-vehicle supply chain.
More than 20,000 legislative and administrative posts are also to be contested by 259,000 candidates.
Supporters at Anies’ last rally in the capital filled a 82,000-capacity stadium, chanting Islamic prayers. Some stayed overnight to secure a spot to see the former Jakarta governor.
“I arrived here yesterday on purpose because if I had come today, I’m afraid I couldn’t have gotten inside,” said Ida Zubaedah, 50. “I need to be inside, because I want to see Anies.”
In Solo, the biggest party’s Ganjar rode a cart filled with produce pulled by oxen, underscoring his man-of-the-people style, greeting thousands of supporters braving the rain.
Ganjar, Central Java’s former governor, called on people to vote for him to show “true resistance” against the use of state resources during campaigning, without naming any of his rivals.
Incumbent Widodo, better known as Jokowi, has faced a storm of allegations that he has interfered to try to sway the outcome of the election by making highly publicized appearances with front-runner Prabowo.
Jokowi has responded that a president has the right to campaign, while saying he did not plan to campaign for anyone.
Thousands of Prabowo’s supporters, clad in his signature light blue, gathered at another stadium in Jakarta, where the defense minister, contesting his third successive election, was to hold a rally later yesterday.
Prabowo got a boost on Friday when the opinion poll by Indikator Politik Indonesia showed him with 51.8 percent support, far ahead of Anies at 24.1 percent and Ganjar at 19.6 percent, with 4.5 percent undecided.
If no candidate wins a majority, a run-off between the top two is to be held in June.
Undecided voters could be critical to former academic Anies and the populist Ganjar to force a second round, a scenario that could change the dynamic of the race.
Prabowo has sought to rebrand his reputation as a hot-tempered nationalist and feared lieutenant of the late strongman ruler Suharto. He now cultivates a gentler image as a cat-loving grandfather with clumsy dancing.
Arya Fernandes of Indonesia’s Center for Strategic and International Studies said a good turnout was vital if Prabowo aims to win outright next week.
“It depends on whether Prabowo can ensure that his loyalists show up to the polls,” Fernandes said.
Satoshi Kirishima spent almost half a century evading arrest, until mortality intervened. As deathbed confessions go, his was astonishing: Having lived a double life as a construction worker, the 70-year-old was admitted last month to a hospital near Tokyo where he told staff he was one of Japan’s most-wanted fugitives. In a more recent image provided to Japanese media by an acquaintance, it is just possible to discern a resemblance with the black-and-white photograph that has adorned Japanese police boxes for decades showing a bespectacled, smiling university student with shoulder-length hair. While he shared details of his family and his organization that only
CHINA LINKS: A report said that there were concerns about the loyalty of Qiu Xiangguo and Cheng Keding due to their direct contact with entities linked to China Two scientists at Canada’s top infectious disease laboratory lost their jobs after reviews found that they failed to protect sensitive assets and information, and failed to acknowledge collaborations with China, newly released records showed. The scientists, Qiu Xiangguo (邱香果) and her husband, Cheng Keding (成克定), were stripped of their security clearances in 2019 at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory over questions about their loyalty to Canada, and the potential for coercion or exploitation by a foreign entity, the documents say. More than 600 pages were made public on Wednesday following a special all-party review of the records. The records show that the Canadian Security
‘RUSSIA CANNOT WIN’: The French president declined to say which nations were considering sending troops, saying he prefers to maintain some ‘strategic ambiguity’ French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out” after the issue was debated at a gathering of European leaders in Paris, as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. The French leader said that “we will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war” after the meeting of more than 20 European heads of state and government, and other Western officials. “There’s no consensus today to send in an official, endorsed manner troops on the ground, but in terms of dynamics, nothing can be ruled out,” Macron said
INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT DAY: The president said ‘the North Korean regime relies solely on nuclear weapons and missiles while trapping its 26 million citizens’ South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol yesterday lambasted North Korea over what he called its repressive rule and vowed to achieve a free, unified Korean Peninsula, weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rejected the idea of peaceful unification and threatened to occupy the South in the event of war. Yoon spoke on Independence Movement Day, a holiday marking a 1919 uprising against Japanese colonial rule of the peninsula. “Now, we must move toward a free, unified Korean Peninsula,” Yoon said in a televised speech. “The North Korean regime relies solely on nuclear weapons and missiles while trapping its 26 million citizens in