Indonesia presidential race hots up

Campaigning for the Indonesian presidential election by the camps of President Joko Widodo and his only challenger Prabowo Subianto are on a faster track as the April 17 vote nears. Mr Joko, 57, is seeking his second and final five-year term in office. His running mate is Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin, 75. Mr Prabowo, 67, a former army general, is hoping to win the second time around after being beaten in 2014. His running mate is businessman-turned-politician Sandiaga Uno, 49. Indonesia correspondent Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja takes a closer look at the campaigning that started on Sept 23.


Jokowi banks on his record, needs to shore up running mate

Indonesian President Joko Widodo with his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, who was seen as the weakest performer among the four candidates in the first presidential debate last month.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo with his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, who was seen as the weakest performer among the four candidates in the first presidential debate last month. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The Indonesian government two months ago completed the first toll road linking capital city Jakarta to Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

Incumbent President Joko Widodo has also refurbished and expanded airports, thus bringing in more tourists, built ports to ease bottlenecks and raised industrial parks that have attracted foreign investments.

He is banking on this record of infrastructure building and job creation to win the presidential election, with the promise of more to come.

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Prabowo zooms in on economic challenges

Indonesia's presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (far left), seen here with his running mate Sandiaga Uno, says he is targeting achieving self-sufficiency in food, energy and water for the sprawling archipelago.
Indonesia's presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (far left), seen here with his running mate Sandiaga Uno, says he is targeting achieving self-sufficiency in food, energy and water for the sprawling archipelago. PHOTO: REUTERS

Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto is zooming in on the country's economic challenges to corral support.

Indonesia is struggling to reduce its current account deficit - having imported more goods and services than it exported - which probably exceeded US$25 billion (S$33.6 billion) last year, according to economists.

Mr Prabowo told a university alumni gathering on Jan 25 that one should not be proud of borrowing money and making others repay the debts.

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