President Joko Widodo surprises many when he picks senior cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate. While many expect him to choose an infiuential figure from the Muslim community, the popular guess is former constitutional court chief justice Mahfud MD – not the chairman of the Indonesia Ulama Council who has a reputation for conservatism that seems at odds with Mr Joko. Rival Prabowo Subianto, too, raises eyebrows by naming businessman Sandiaga Uno as his vice-presidential pick, defying expectations that he would run with a member of one of the other parties in his coalition. Mr Sandiaga resigns from Mr Prabowo’s Gerindra party to run as an independent.
The election campaign officially kicks off, with the two contenders vowing to run a peaceful race.