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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid