News / Asia

Indonesian Political Sniping Helps Presidential Hopeful Jokowi

FILE - Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
FILE - Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
Reuters
— Indonesian presidential frontrunner Joko “Jokowi” Widodo looks to be getting some extra help from the bickering that threatens to undermine his chief rivals to become the next leader of the world's third biggest democracy.
          
No political party managed to win the required number of votes in this month's general election to be allowed to nominate on its own a candidate for the July 9 presidential poll, forcing them to cut deals with other parties.
          
Only Jakarta governor Jokowi's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) has managed to find a partner to lift him above the threshold needed for a nomination.
          
A smooth path to the presidential palace for Jokowi, whose huge popularity rests on his clean, can-do image, would likely cheer foreign investors eager to see a smooth transition in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.
          
Ex-general Prabowo Subianto, of the Gerindra Party and distant second to Jokowi in opinion polls, late last week seemed to have won the backing of the head of the country's oldest Islamic party, the United Development Party (PPP).
          
That infuriated other senior members of PPP who then suspended their chief for not consulting them first.
          
“We are discussing a coalition with Gerindra but... at the moment are still open to all possibilities,” said Emron Pangkapi, acting chairman of PPP.
          
Even if the party does back Prabowo, he will still need the support of at least one other party to run for the presidency.
          
The son of one of the country's most prominent economists, Prabowo has been accused of human rights abuses during the unrest that led to former authoritarian ruler Suharto's downfall in 1998, allegations he denies.
          
Candidates and their running mates must be registered by May 18. If no candidate wins a simple majority in the July race, there will be a second round in September.
          
The enthusiasm for Jokowi, despite no indications of what his policies as president would be, was underscored by the more than 3 percent jump in Jakarta shares when his party nominated him as its candidate for the presidency on March 14.
          
However, they fell afterwards when his party failed to do as well as expected in the April 9 parliamentary vote.
          
Infighting
          
The other major party in the running is Golkar, whose official presidential candidate is business tycoon Aburizal Bakrie.
          
Bakrie faces a growing chorus of voices within the party calling for him to be replaced as presidential nominee and blaming his stubbornly low popularity for the party's weaker-than-expected showing in the parliamentary poll.
          
One Golkar official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said there may be a move to oust Bakrie, but for now the party was focused on finding coalition partners.
          
Golkar has secured the backing of Hanura, a small party led by another former general, Wiranto. Like Gerindra, it will need to bring on board at least one other party to nominate a presidential candidate.
          
Jokowi's easy approach with ordinary people has made the former furniture businessman a favorite for the presidency. He is seen by many as a welcome change from the old guard of elitist politicians who have long dominated Indonesian politics.
          
Focus has already shifted to his choice of running mate. Several names are in the fray, including that of popular former vice-president Jusuf Kalla.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid