News / Asia

Indonesian Voters Head to Polls

Supporters surround Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko Widodo (C) during a PDI-P party campaign in Cilegon, Banten province, March 28, 2014.
Supporters surround Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko Widodo (C) during a PDI-P party campaign in Cilegon, Banten province, March 28, 2014.
Kate Lamb
Some 187 million voters in Indonesia head to the polls Wednesday in parliamentary elections that will have a big influence on the country’s presidential poll in July.
 
In Indonesia, staging a national election is a huge logistical undertaking.
 
The country's 186.5 million registered voters are expected to participate at more than half a million polling booths on 900 islands.
 
At stake is not only who wins a seat in the regional and national parliaments, but what the results mean for the presidential election this July.
 
Current electoral laws stipulate that a party or coalition of parties must win 25 percent of the popular vote or 20 percent of seats in the national parliament to nominate a presidential candidate.
 
But polls show that only one party, the Democratic Party of Struggle or PDI-P, will definitely pass the threshold.
 
Aleksius Jemadu, the dean of political science at Jakarta’s Pelita Harapan University, said the opposition party is in the lead.
 
“For the legislative election I think there is a high chance for PDI-P to win the election, maybe 20-25 percent of the votes will go to PDI-P and that is sufficient for the PDI-P to nominate their own presidential candidate,” said Jemadu.
 
Ahead of Wednesday’s poll, the 12 parties taking part have staged rowdy, colorful rallies, recruited celebrities to run for office and created slick social media campaigns to boost their popularity.
 
But even as parties make every effort to attract voters, not one has managed to surpass the apparent popularity of the PDI-P, and its star candidate, Joko Widodo.
 
Known locally as Jokowi, the Jakarta governor is wildly popular for his reputation for transparency and his hands-on approach to governance.
 
After his presidential bid was confirmed last month, the PDI-P’s popularity jumped from 27 to 37 percent in a widely watched opinion poll. The same poll showed the next closest party lagging 20 percent behind.
 
Professor Jemadu said it is too soon to call a Widodo presidential victory a certainty, but he said it is clear Indonesian voters want change.
 
“Most people are fed up by all this corruption by the political parties and the parliament. The presidential election gives them some hope that change will take place, at least at the executive level,” said Jemadu.
 
Incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been in power for almost a decade, but his administration has been marred by a string of high-level corruption cases, rising religious intolerance and a squandered political mandate.
 
A relative outsider with no connection to the country’s political elite, Joko Widodo is being touted as a new breed of Indonesian politician.
 
Nonetheless, even as Widodo offers hope and change, the voting system is riddled with corruption.
 
Ade Irawan, a researcher from Indonesia Corruption Watch, or ICW, said corrupt practices have increased since the last election five years ago.
 
According to Irawan, in 2009 the ICW found 130 cases of money politics, but this year they identified 140 cases - three days before the election.
 
This year, he added, candidates are also getting savvier about vote buying.
 
Vote brokers are now demanding voters show pictures on their mobile phone of their ballot papers before they are given money.
 
As well as cash, voters are also being offered new goods such as phone credit and health insurance.
 
Since the collapse of Suharto’s 32-year authoritarian rule, this year marks the fourth time Indonesians will democratically elect their parliament.
 
Results for the parliamentary election will be officially announced by May 9, but a quick count of the polls is expected within 24 hours.
 
With the exception of several fatal attacks in the semi-autonomous region of Aceh, North Sumatra, Wednesday’s election is widely expected to be peaceful.
 
  • Members of the Muslim group An-Nadzir cast their ballots during voting in parliamentary elections at a polling station in Gowa, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 9, 2014.
  • A member of the An-Nadzir Muslim group shows his inked finger after casting his ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Gowa, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 9, 2014.
  • A person places a hand on a list of candidates for members of parliament at a polling station during voting for parliamentary elections in Jakarta, April 9, 2014.
  • A young girl waits as her parents vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, April 9, 2014.
  • Presidential candidate Joko Widodo, front, casts his ballot next to his wife Iriana Joko Widodo at a polling station in Jakarta, April 9, 2014.
  • Armed police officers stand guard as election officials carry ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations at a local government office in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, April 8, 2014. 
  • An election official arranges ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations at a local government office in Jakarta, April 8, 2014.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid