Indonesia: Public Campaigning for 2019 Presidential Election Kicks Off

  • The public campaign period for the 2019 presidential election kicked off on 24 Mar 19 with visits to various locations by the two candidates, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.
  • The campaign period, determined by the General Elections Commission (KPU), will end with the final presidential debate on 13 Apr 19. Jokowi kicked off his campaign in Serang, Banten, on 24 Mar 19, while his rival visited Manado, North Sulawesi, and Makassar, South Sulawesi.
  • Jokowi’s running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, was also in Banten but in a separate location, while Prabowo’s running mate, Sandiaga Uno, visited Solo in Central Java.
  • Campaigning in his running mate’s hometown, Jokowi called on his supporters to oppose fake news and political hoaxes targeting the candidate pair that have been spread door-to-door and on social media.
  • He said at least four false rumors have been doing the rounds, which falsely claim that religious subjects will be removed from the school curriculum, the azan, or Islamic call to prayer will be banned and same-sex marriage and extramarital sex will be legalized if he is re-elected.
  • During his campaign in Serang on 24 Mar 19, Jokowi also called on his supporters to be happy and not fear the democratic process.
  • However, the incumbent president admitted that his camp still had to work hard in the province to attract more support, considering that his rival won most of the votes in the province in the 2014 presidential election. But he expressed optimism that his camp would gain more support than his opponent.
  • Prabowo chose his late mother’s hometown to start his public campaign in the 2019 presidential election. In his speech in Manado, the former Army general promised to provide jobs and ensure people’s prosperity if he is elected.
  • He criticized the high cost of basic needs, electricity and fuel, while also promising to address this. From Manado, Prabowo traveled to Makassar, where he confidently called on the people to change the country’s leadership.

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