The contenders for the third-largest democracy in the world are former governors Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, as well as former special forces commander Prabowo Subianto.On Wednesday, the elections will not only choose local and parliamentary representatives but also a new president and vice president.
Over 80,000 supporters of candidate Baswedan gathered in Jakarta, while approximately 100,000 people demonstrated in favor of front-runner Subianto at the main stadium in the capital city. Subianto, a 72-year-old former military dictator and Indonesia’s current defense minister, is attempting to change the perception of him as a ruthless army leader with a history of human rights violations. He has chosen Gibran Rakambuming Raka, a controversial 36-year-old, as his running mate.
In addition to Subianto and Baswedan, Mahfud MD, a former coordinating minister, is also a contender. Both men have positioned themselves as individuals with modest backgrounds who understand Indonesian culture. Baswedan, a former governor of Jakarta, is running as an independent candidate. The 54-year-old, who received his education in the US, served as an education minister before entering politics. His opponent is Muhaimin Iskander, the 57-year-old leader of the National Awakening Party, Indonesia’s largest Muslim political party.
During the final rally, Baswedan’s supporters packed an 82,000-seat stadium in Jakarta, reciting Islamic prayers. A cooling-off period will take place from Sunday to election day, during which candidates and their running mates will strive to become the next president of Indonesia after the outgoing leader, Joko Widodo. Voting is not mandatory, but 81 percent of the country’s 270 million citizens are registered to vote, with over 204 million casting their ballots in 2019. There are 18 national political parties and 575 parliamentary seats available for candidates to run for.
(With agency inputs)