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Indonesia starts election campaign, voters set to choose radical change

Published on Mar 16, 2014 8:11 AM
Ballot box floats participate in a parade in Jakarta on March 15, 2014, to mark the opening of the legislative election campaign in Indonesia. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's raucous election season kicks off on Sunday with the promise of a fresh style of leadership in the world's third largest democracy, whose economic promise has been sapped by rampant graft, confusing policy and weak rule.

An uncertain election outlook abruptly changed on Friday when the main PDI-P opposition party named the hugely popular governor of Jakarta as its candidate for July's presidential election. That lifted even further its chances of dominating the parliamentary election on April 9.

Opinion polls suggest the presidency is governor Joko Widodo's to lose, with old-style contenders ex-general Prabowo Subianto and tycoon Aburizal Bakrie trailing far behind.

A hint of the euphoria attached to the nomination of the charismatic Mr Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was shown in the 3.2 per cent jump in Jakarta share prices after the announcement.

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