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Behind Prabowo's campaign to become Indonesia's president, a questionable crew

Published on Jul 6, 2014 11:29 AM
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures to supporters during a campaign rally in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta in this June 22, 2014 photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Jabbing his finger repeatedly in the air, presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto shouted to supporters in a packed Jakarta stadium that the corrupt had no place in Indonesia.

"You who disgrace Indonesia, you who buy Indonesia ... we must answer 'No! Not this time! Indonesia wants to stand with dignity,'" the pugnacious former special forces general said to a roar of applause in a speech ahead of this week's election.

Behind him, applauding, sat one of the most senior Indonesian officials ever to be investigated in a government probe into graft, who is also the head of a major Islamic party supporting Prabowo's July 7 presidential bid.

Suryadharma Ali quit as the religious affairs minister in May after being named by the federal anti-corruption agency KPK of being involved in embezzling from the US$5 billion (S$6.23 billion) state fund allocated for the pilgrimage to Mecca. Indonesia, the biggest economy in southeast Asia, has the world's biggest population of Muslims.

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