Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Indonesia presidential election: What you need to know about the candidates

JAKARTA — In a rematch of the presidential contest in 2014, some 192 million Indonesians will head to the polls on April 17 to elect their president.

Indonesia presidential election: What you need to know about the candidates

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiago Uno sing the national anthem before their last presidential debate in Jakarta, Indonesia April 13, 2019.

JAKARTA — In a rematch of the presidential contest in 2014, some 192 million Indonesians will head to the polls on April 17 to elect their president.

In one corner is the incumbent Joko Widodo, who will be fending off another challenge from ex-general Prabowo Subianto.

Five years ago, Mr Widodo narrowly defeated Mr Subianto, winning 53.15 per cent of the vote while the latter secured 46.85 per cent.

Read also

The Big Read: Religion, fake news take centre stage as divided Indonesia goes to the polls

The Big Read in short: Indonesia presidential election — three big issues to watch

Independent polls showed Mr Widodo leading the battle this time round with 20 points. However, Mr Subianto, who has questioned the country’s electoral process, claimed he has a double-digit lead over his rival.

Here is what you need to know about the two candidates:

JOKO WIDODO (Age: 57)

RISE TO PROMINENCE

  • The father of three launched his political career by becoming the mayor of Solo or Surakarta, a city in Java, in 2005.

  • After he was re-elected to the post in 2010, he went on to contest and won the 2012 gubernatorial election in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.

  • In 2014, Mr Widodo was propelled to the country’s highest office, after defeating Mr Subianto by about 6 percentage points. Mr Widodo won 53.15 per cent of the vote.

THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HIM

  • He was named Mulyono at birth, but his parents changed it to Joko Widodo because he kept getting sick when he was a toddler. In Javanese, Widodo means “healthy”.

  • After working at his grandfather’s furniture factory, Mr Widodo started his own factory business before joining politics.

  • Mr Widodo sticks to a uniform of white shirt with rolled up sleeves and black pants. Political analysts said that this is to signal that he is “one of the people”.

HIS RUNNING MATE

  • Ma’ruf Amin, 75, a firebrand cleric who has been criticised for slamming Indonesian minorities and forbidding Muslims from exchanging Christmas greetings.

HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISES

  • Came up with the “Indonesia Maju” or “Progress for Indonesia” programme.

  • Mr Widodo plans to ramp up urban and digital infrastructure to prepare for a digital economy.

  • He also pledged to provide house ownership for 5 million poor people, low-wage workers, soldiers and the police.

PRABOWO SUBIANTO (Age: 67)

RISE TO PROMINENCE

  • Formerly a Kopassus general under Suharto’s dictatorial regime, he was widely feared during the ex-president’s crackdown on activists.

  • His foray into politics came in 2014, when he contested and lost the presidential election to Mr Widodo.

THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HIM

  • Mr Subianto’s father named him Prabowo after the former’s younger brother, who died in a battle for the country’s independence during the Indonesian National Revolution against the Dutch, which took place between 1945 and 1949.

  • He was formerly the son-in-law of ex-president Suharto, before he divorced his wife in 1998. They have one son who is a famous Indonesian fashion designer.

  • It has been widely reported that Mr Subianto was discharged from the army in 1998 following Mr Suharto’s ouster, after accepting responsibility for the kidnapping and torture of Mr Suharto’s political opponents.

HIS RUNNING MATE

  • Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, 49. Having co-founded an investment firm, he was listed as the 47th richest man in Indonesia, according to Forbes in 2013.

HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISES

  • Mr Subianto has pledged to revitalise the country’s economy and transform Indonesia into an “Asian Tiger”.

  • He also plans to reduce the cost of living and increase wages as well as to eliminate corruption in his country, which he has described as a “Stage 4 cancer”.

Related topics

Indonesia presidential election Joko Widodo Prabowo Subianto

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa