Indonesia votes: Prabowo rules for conservatives in religious Aceh

A woman being caned in public at the Lam Gugom Mosque in Banda Aceh in Indonesia's Aceh province earlier this month. Public floggings are well attended, with covered tents for dignitaries. Syariah enjoys popular support as it underscores the province
A woman being caned in public at the Lam Gugom Mosque in Banda Aceh in Indonesia's Aceh province earlier this month. Public floggings are well attended, with covered tents for dignitaries. Syariah enjoys popular support as it underscores the province's special status among the country's 33 other provinces, said Mr Reza Idira of the State Islamic University Banda Aceh.PHOTO: GOMOS SIMANJUNTAK

Indonesia will hold its presidential and legislative elections on April 17. With more than 192 million people eligible to vote, the polls will be the biggest since direct elections were first held 15 years ago. The Straits Times has been reporting from key election battlegrounds across the vast archipelago. Today, we look at Aceh province.

At the Kartini Peunayong market in Banda Aceh, Mr Arif Fadila confesses he hasn't been following closely the campaign to elect Indonesia's president. While his final decision will hinge on chats with his family, it is clear what his priorities are.

"Religion first, and then jobs," the 23-year-old said while minding his family's vegetable stall in Aceh's capital, adding that he is leaning towards Mr Prabowo Subianto, who is challenging President Joko Widodo for the top job.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2019, with the headline 'Prabowo rules for conservatives in religious Aceh'. Print Edition | Subscribe