Campaigning kicks off for presidential election

Blending in: Ganjar at his campaign in Merauke, South Papua province. — Reuters

Campaigning for Indonesia’s presidential election was officially underway, with two of the three candidates kicking off two months of whistle-stop touring to woo voters in a race to lead the world’s third largest democracy.

Indonesia holds presidential and legislative elections on Feb 14, with Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo, and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan vying to replace the hugely popular outgoing leader Joko Widodo after a decade in power.

Recent surveys have showed former special forces commander Prabowo leading with Ganjar second and Anies a distant third.

Ganjar, the ruling party’s candidate, will begin his campaign in the easternmost Papua province, with running mate Mahfud MD starting at the westernmost province of Aceh.

Anies is set to meet voters in and around the capital Jakarta, with his running mate Muhaimin Iskandar in East Java’s Surabaya.

Prabowo and his vice-presidential pick Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of President Joko, will start their campaign at a later date.

The candidates will appear in debates organised by the election commission in the coming weeks, with no schedule unveiled so far.

About 205 million of Indonesia’s more than 270 million population are eligible to vote in the election. — Reuters

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