News / Asia

    Indonesians to Vote in Close Presidential Race

    An electoral worker sorts documents to be put inside ballot boxes and distributed to polling stations at a government office in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 7, 2014.
    An electoral worker sorts documents to be put inside ballot boxes and distributed to polling stations at a government office in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 7, 2014.
    Kate Lamb

    Voters in Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, head to the polls July 9 to choose a new president in a race described as one of the tightest in recent history.

    Some 190 million Indonesians, including about 67 million first-time voters, will choose between two candidates with very distinct leadership styles: one is a former general with ties to ex-dictator Suharto and the other is the Jakarta governor considered to be a "man of the people."  Both men are vying to replace President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has served the maximum two-term limit.

    Frontrunners

    Former Army General Prabowo Subianto is a fiery speaker whose campaign has centered on nationalism. The son of a noted economist and former government minister is admired for his firmness, a quality supporters say is required to maintain unity in a sprawling archipelago that is home to hundreds of different ethnicities and cultures. Prabowo was briefly married to the daughter of former dictator Suharto, the country's second president, who held power for 31 years until his resignation in 1998.

    Although Prabowo has struggled to shake off claims of past human rights abuses, he has surged in the polls since March, closing in on his opponent's 30-point lead.

    Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, known by his nickname Jokowi, was raised in a village in the Central Java town of Solo. He is admired for overcoming an under-privileged upbringing to become governor and has attracted support for his man-of-the-people leadership style.
     
    Jokowi's willingness to tackle the capital’s troubles and his reputation for clean governance have given him an edge with voters who find it refreshing that he has no ties to Suharto-era politics.

    Recent survey

    A poll conducted in early July by the Indonesian Survey Circle puts Jokowi slightly ahead (3.6 percent) of Prabowo.

    The poll found 8 percent of voters remain undecided about which candidate they prefer.

    Some analysts speculate the undecided voters will determine the outcome. But political analyst Yohannes Sulaiman believes the deciding factor will be turnout.
     
    “Of course, it is back to the voter's turnout and in this case Jokowi has the advantage because his voters are more energized," Sulaiman said.
     
    In the 2009 presidential election, 27 percent of voters abstained.

    Electoral workers, escorted by police officers and soldiers, use horses to transport ballot boxes to polling stations in remote areas in Tlogosari, East Java, Indonesia, July 8, 2014.
    Electoral workers, escorted by police officers and soldiers, use horses to transport ballot boxes to polling stations in remote areas in Tlogosari, East Java, Indonesia, July 8, 2014.

    Logistics

    To reach some of the most inaccessible parts of the country, ballots have reportedly been distributed by helicopter, boat, and even on horseback.
     
    Authorities are deploying soldiers and police to protect polling stations and maintain order.

    According to Central Jakarta Police Chief Hendro Pandowo, they will be on the lookout for a wide variety of issues and election day threats such as mass mobilization of dissatisfied people, intimidation and fake identity cards.
     
    Voters are being advised to be on the lookout for any indications of electoral fraud, while more than 30,000 soldiers have been deployed to provide security.
     
    Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 1:00 pm. A quick count is expected by late afternoon. Official results are expected to be released in late July.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.