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Jokowi-Prabowo's struggles ahead of presidential race

Jokowi-Prabowo's struggles ahead of presidential race

Petugas Komisi Independen Pemilihan (KIP) Banda Aceh merangkai kotak suara Pemilu serentak 2019 di Banda Aceh, Aceh, Senin (4/3/2019). KIP selaku penyelenggara Pemilu Presiden, DPD, DPR, DPRD Provinsi dan DPRD Kabupaten / Kota pada 17 April 2019 di Provinsi Aceh, telah menyiapkan kotak suara untuk didistribusikan ke TPS menjelang hari pemungutan suara. ANTARA FOTO/Irwansyah Putra/ama. ((Foto Antaranews/)

Some 34 days from now, around 192 million eligible voters across Indonesia will flock to polling booths to cast their votes.

On April 17, 2019, they will not merely be required to vote for their preferable pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates but will also select their representatives at the House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD), as well as provincial and district/city legislative bodies.

Indonesian citizens living or traveling abroad will also be able to exercise their voting rights in places determined by the local election committees at the Indonesian embassies, consulate generals, and consulates.

With the due date inching closer, legislative candidates of various participating political parties seem to be intensifying their efforts to approach community members, who are eligible to vote, including millennials, who are generally first-time voters.

The same strategy is also applied by the two pairs of Indonesian presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Both the pairs of Joko Widodo (Jokowi)-Ma'ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno are apparently intensifying meetings with their loyalists and the people, at large, in various parts of Indonesia to win over their hearts and minds.

On Mar 10, for instance, Jokowi, the incumbent president, who is seeking a reelection in the upcoming presidential race, had visited Palembang City to meet and greet his loyalists.

During his stay in the capital city of South Sumatra Province, he had joined a mass gymnastic performance along with several thousand members of the "Srikandi (Heroines of) Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin" pair.

The incumbent president's wife, Iriana, and several cabinet members also joined in the mass gymnastic performance, held at the Jakabaring Sports City that also served as a venue for several events of the 2018 Asian Games.

"This morning, I am so happy to see you all look healthy. All women in Palembang City, in South Sumatra Province, and in other parts of the country are also healthy," Jokowi remarked in his speech.

During the meeting with loyalists, Jokowi also took the opportunity to remind them of the importance of a direct-selling approach in winning the hearts and minds of eligible voters as well as in clarifying issues or rumors that may create public misunderstanding.

Hence, he ordered all members of the Srikandi Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin pair to go door-to-door to disseminate information and alert the people of groundless information and fake news on various issues that potentially create misunderstanding about the government.

Jokowi then highlighted several rumors that should be clarified and explained, including a plan to ban the Islamic call for prayer (adzan) from mosques and legalize marriages of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples.

"We have religious and social norms. This is indeed fake news that needs to be clarified to our people," he remarked, adding that it was impossible for the Indonesian government to ban "adzan" from mosques and to legalize marriages of LGBT couples.

Jokowi affirmed that regardless of who governs Indonesia, it would be impossible to ban adzan from mosques, as Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population.

"Hence, there is a need to deny these hoaxes and tender an explanation," he emphasized.

Three days after Jokowi's visit to Palembang, Subianto met with thousands of his loyalists and supporters in Batam, the capital city of Riau Islands Province.

During the gathering held on Mar 13 in the coastal city that shares the sea border with Singapore, Subianto called on his loyalists to secure the votes of eligible voters cast in ballot booths.

"Please, secure the ballot booths!" Subianto stated while addressing several thousand supporters, who enthusiastically listened to his speech.

This founder of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party also encouraged his loyalists to continue to work hard ahead of the convening of the presidential race on April 17, or 34 days from today.

Subianto then urged his loyalists to convince their family members, neighbors, colleagues, and the people, at large, whom they come across at any place, to elect the Subianto-Uno pair.

Subianto, who has selected Uno, the former deputy governor of Jakarta and businessman-turned-politician, as his running mate in competing with his tough contender Jokowi, further expressed belief that his loyalists cannot be bribed.

He urged all community members to not be easily influenced by the practices of money politics ahead of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, emphasizing that "not all Indonesians can be bribed or 'purchased.'"

Apart from the tough struggles of both Jokowi and his contender Subianto for winning the upcoming presidential race, the General Elections Commission (KPU) must be able to ensure that this people's fiesta of democracy is held fairly and peacefully.

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