Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will organize presidential elections on April 17, 2019, considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein incumbent Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.

Seeking a second term, Jokowi, furniture businessman, has picked Ma`ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, while retired general Subianto has picked Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, a young and successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.

The Jokowi-Amin pair is backed by a coalition called Working Indonesian Coalition (KIK) involving nine political parties which have set up a national campaign team (TKN) for Jokowi.

The nine political parties are the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP), the Muslim-based United Development Party (PPP), Golkar Party, National Awakening Party (PKB), National Democratic Party (Nasdem), People`s Conscience Party (Hanura),the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), the United Indonesia Party (Perindo), and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI).

The Subianto -Uno pair is supported by only four political parties, notably Gerindra, which is founded by Subianto; the National Mandate Party (PAN); the Justice Prosperous Party (PKS); and the Democratic Party (PD) established by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).

In addition to the political parties, the two candidates have competed in gaining support from major mass organizations, such as the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia?s largest Muslim organization, and Muhammadiyah, the second largest after NU.

Muhammadiyah has so far maintained its neutral stance and has let its members to decide their choices.

NU, however, has strongly indicated its favor for Jokowi. NU Chairman Said Aqil Siroj stated earlier that because Jokowi has selected Amin as his running mate, NU would automatically support the pair, because Amin is a prominent leader and advisor of NU.

The family of Abdurrahman Wahid alias Gus Dur, a grandson of NU founder, KH Hasyim Asyari, has also expressed his support for Jokowi. The support was declared openly by Yenny Wahid, daughter of Gus Dur, on Sept 26, 2018.

Wahid on Dec 19, 2018, coordinated a gathering called a Great Declaration of Madura`s Ulemas to express support by several Madura ulemas to Jokowi in Bangkalan, Madura Island. The incumbent was present at the event.

In contract to Gus Dur`s family, several other descendants of NU founders conveyed their support personally to Subianto at his Jakarta residence on Nov 28, 2018.

Tens of grandchildren of the NU`s founders who met Subianto included Gus Irfan, a grandson of KH Hasyim Asyari; KH Hasib Wahab, a grandson of KH Wahab Abdullah; and KH Hasyim Karim, a grandson of KH Bisri Syansuri.

Commenting on the rival support, Wahid expressed her optimism that NU members? support for Jokowi is larger than for Subianto.

Earlier, two descendants of the late general Soedirman, the first Great Commander of Indonesia who had led Indonesians in the fight for the country`s independence, declared their support for Subianto.

Nining Tejaningsih Soedirman and Tisa Budiakso Soedirman, granddaughter and great granddaughter of Soedirman, respectively, expressed their support during an event called "Prabowo Greets Yogyakarta People" attended by thousands of volunteers.

"Mr Subianto, lets hold hands to regain the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic Indonesia (NKRI)," Tisa remarked.

Two days later (Nov 30), Yusril Ihza Mahendra, chairman of the Crescent and Star Party (PBB), hinted at supporting Jokowi at next year`s presidential election.

"Insha Allah (God Willing). We are already together, but, later in January, it will be toward that direction (declaration of support)," Mahendra remarked in response to questions from the press at the Bogor Presidential complex.

Mahendra has been appointed as the lawyer of Jokowi and Amin since early November 2018.

PBB will hold a national coordinating meeting in January 2019, to decide whether the party will officially support Jokowi or not.

On Sept 16, 2018, several ulemas held the second ulema Ijtima (meeting) in Jakarta, and expressed support for Subianto.

Subianto, who attended the declaration of the ulema Ijtima, told the press that he was very grateful for the trust the ulemas have given to him.

"The honest support given to us is very touching for me, and I promise to the Ulemas Ijtima that I will do the best for the nation and state of Indonesia," Subianto revealed.

And the peak support shown to Subianto was during the 212 Reunion held in the National Monument (Monas) area and surrounding avenues wherein a huge crowd cheered Subianto, who was invited to give a brief speech in the gathering attended by Muslims from various regions.

In the direct presidential election five years ago, Jokowi and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, won 70,997,833 votes, or 53.15 percent of the total 133,574,277 valid votes, while their rivals, Subianto-Hatta Rajasa secured 62,576,444 votes, or 46.85 percent.

Edited by Suharto

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2018