Indonesia: Jokowi Ratchets Up Election Debate With Allegation of Russian Meddling

  • Is Russia meddling in the Indonesian elections too?
  • The question is far from settled despite denials from the Russian embassy in Jakarta and presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto, who say the charge leveled by incumbent leader Joko Widodo is baseless.
  • Widodo fired the first salvo last week, saying a campaign team deployed foreign consultants and resorted to “Russian propaganda” including defamation, lies and hoaxes. While Widodo, known as Jokowi, didn’t name anyone in particular, Subianto, popularly known as Prabowo, was quick to deny the charges.
  • Prabowo’s campaign team said it regretted the president’s insinuation that they’d engaged foreign consultants, while the Russian embassy said the country “in principle doesn’t interfere in domestic affairs and electoral processes of any foreign country, including Indonesia, which is our close and important partner.”
  • A photo of Prabowo shaking hands with a delegate from the Russian embassy at his national address in Dec 18 went viral on social media, suggesting the former general challenging Jokowi was using the services of foreign consultants.
  • Irawan Ronodipuro, a member of Prabowo’s campaign team, said the foreigner was only one of the 13 dignitaries from different foreign embassies who attended the event.
  • Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno didn’t engage any foreign consultants, just young Indonesians educated abroad, Ronodipuro said. He criticized Jokowi for the allegations of Russian interference and for allowing foreign laborers into the country.
  • The campaign for the has so far been free of any major controversies, with candidates focusing on bread and butter issues like prices of staples, jobs and the economy. While Jokowi enjoys 15%-20% lead over Prabowo in the most recent surveys, both are out to woo about 15% of the undecided voters.
  • Jokowi, who has been targeted by the opposition for allowing Chinese workers in Indonesian factories and piling up foreign debt to fund his infrastructure agenda, may be embracing a more aggressive campaign style with his attack on Prabowo, according to Noory Okthariza, a political analyst at Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
  • “Don’t accuse [me] as being a foreign puppet, while [Prabowo] himself is a foreign puppet,” Jokowi said. That said, Jokowi was also quick to distance the Russian government from the purported hoaxes, indicating that “this is not a matter of state affairs.”

External Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-06/jokowi-ratchets-up-election-debate-alleging-russian-meddling

External Link: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/02/04/jokowi-accuses-prabowo-camp-of-enlisting-foreign-propaganda-help.html

External Link: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/02/06/russian-propaganda-nothing-to-do-with-moscow-says-jokowi.html

7-Feb-2019


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