JAKARTA – In the penultimate week of the campaign to elect Indonesia’s next president, both candidates in an increasingly-tight race tried to refute malign contentions about their suitability for office in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country and third-biggest democracy.
JAKARTA/SOLO – Early results in Indonesia’s legislative elections held Wednesday showed pre-vote favourite the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) falling well short of a hoped-for 30 per cent showing, with concerns that the party could even fail to cross the 20 per cent threshold needed to nominate a presidential candidate without the backing of a smaller party. Early tallying of votes showed PDI-P posting just short of 20 per cent of the vote. Going into the April 9 poll, the PDI-P hoped that pitching Joko Widodo – the flesh-pressing, popular governor of Jakarta – as its presidential candidate would lift the party back to the heights attained in Indonesia’s first post-dictatorship election in 1999, when it won 33 per cent. “He is a good man, a simple man. Everyone here likes him,” said teacher Hernawan Tri Wahyudi, speaking in Solo, Joko Widodo’s hometown, where he forged his political career as mayor before winning the Jakarta governorship in 2012.