187.1 million Indonesians eligible to vote in the 2019 presidential and legislative elections

  As campaigning kicks off, all eyes will be on the contest between President Joko Widodo (left) and his old rival, former general Prabowo Subianto.
As campaigning kicks off, all eyes will be on the contest between President Joko Widodo (left) and his old rival, former general Prabowo Subianto.PHOTOS: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Some 187.1 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in the 2019 presidential and legislative polls in April 2019, as campaigning for the long election season begins this Sunday (Sept 23).

The updated figure was tallied after the General Elections Commission (KPU) removed more than 670,000 names from a preliminary list of voters following complaints of duplicate names in its registry, it said in a report out on Sunday.

Previous local reports had quoted the Elections Supervisory Agency as saying it had found some 2.9 million duplicate names in the voter list, prompting the KPU to conduct a clean-up of the electoral roll for the April 17 polls.

As campaigning kicks off, all eyes will be on the contest between President Joko Widodo and his old rival, former general Prabowo Subianto.

Mr Joko has picked as his running mate Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin, who has a doctorate in economics, while Mr Prabowo is going with Jakarta deputy governor and former businessman Sandiaga Uno.

The 2019 elections will be the first time that Indonesians will pick their president and MPs on the same day.

Following the fall of strongman Suharto in 1998, reforms to Indonesia's electoral system were introduced to prevent a single dominant party from holding power.

Under the law, political parties need at least 20 per cent of the seats in Parliament, or 25 per cent share of the popular vote, before they can nominate a presidential candidate.

The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) currently holds 109 seats, or just under 20 per cent of the House.

Golkar, the second-largest party after the PDI-P, has 16 per cent; Gerindra, chaired by Mr Prabowo, has 13 per cent; and the Democratic Party has 11 per cent.

 
 
 

Golkar is part of a nine-party coalition led by the PDI-P behind Mr Joko and Dr Ma'ruf, while the Democrats are one of four parties that proposed the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket.

Observers have said that while the President remains ahead in popularity polls, rising religiosity and voters appearing to vote according to religious lines could threaten his re-election bid.

They point to last year's election for Jakarta governor, when the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his Chinese nickname Ahok, was defeated by the Gerindra-backed Anies Baswedan in a bitter campaign marred by sectarian discord.

The opposition played the religion card, capitalising on a blasphemy charge Basuki was facing - for which he was later jailed - to win over conservative Muslim voters.

Voting patterns, however, may change with the introduction of new parties and younger voters.

Almost half of the voters across the country will be 35 years old or younger come polling day.