Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Election

In my earlier post I’ve mentioned about Indonesia’s 2014 election. This time I want to talk briefly about Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Election which is scheduled to be held on July 9, 2014.

The election, that pits Jokowi with Prabowo, two of the most popular Indonesians, if not the best, is only less than 3 weeks away when I write this piece (June 23). A series of presidential debates, broadcasted nationally have been held. If anything, the debates do very little to convince the swing voters. It’s reported that there are no less than 22% of eligible voters who haven’t decided who will be their presidential champion in this election. That’s really high percentage that could easily win the favor for both candidates.

Due to his popularity, Jokowi still become the frontrunner of this presidential campaign, and Prabowo, the underdog. But many recent polls showed that Prabowo is steadily catching up.

The 2014 presidential election’s candidates represent so many dichotomies found all too often in the political competition in Indonesia: military-civil background, Islam-nationalist (this time in respect of the supporting parties), media’s fiend-media darling etc. I guess this election is the most competitive Indonesia ever had all this time. Contributing factors to this is first, the amount of the contenders, and second the support of social media. Both candidates specially deploy the so-called the soc-med specialists and volunteers to spearhead their online campaigning efforts. This is unprecedented in any of Indonesia’s elections before.

Two contenders also made competition fiercer. It opens the door of “if you’re not with us, than you’re with them” mentality. Supporters from both sides wage “status wars” about who’s the best candidate in Facebook and Twitter, to the point where this is what they do all day long. I don’t know about the effectiveness of such campaign, especially if the strategy is always to attack the other guy (instead of promoting their guy’s programs and platforms). Hahaha.

The candidates factor aside, I guess Indonesia is about to witness the lowest “abstain-ers” or golput ever. I have seen many of my friends, even the most a-political one, determine to vote this time after staying golput almost for 16 years. FYI, abstentions is not so uncommon in Indonesia and to vote isn’t necessarily a virtue. Thirty years of mock democracy under Soeharto, where the old ruling party, Golkar, always won no matter what, tended to cause apolitical mindset as such. Even in reform era, where whoever won the election, people still couldn’t see improvement on their life quality (poverty, corruption, the usual things).

With every election comes the darker side of campaigning. The black campaign. As I said earlier, instead of supporting their candidate in positive way i.e. promoting their platforms etc, the supporters prefer to attack the other candidate. Both candidates suffered from insinuations, slanders to full-blown lies on their way to the top. The will to win supersede anything else.

International world waiting anxiously for the outcome of this election, and while doing that, they also put uncalled pressure. Whoever wins can affect the rate of foreign investment in Indonesia, as this article suggest.

Yep. This is not a presidential race. This is officially a presidential cockfight. No holds barred. Winner and loser will bleed equally. But if it’s resulted in a better, sovereign Indonesia, who am I to object?

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