Campaigning kicks off for Indonesia election

September 23, 2018 - 9:58

TEHRAN - Ahead of next year’s election, major political parties in Indonesia have kicked off their election campaign. President Joko Widodo, who is looking to retain his chair, launched his campaign on Friday, looking to win over big chunk of millennial and Muslim votes.

Widodo, who had defeated Prabowo Subianto by a narrow margin in 2014, will be looking to retain power.

Now each is pushing a nationalistic economic platform, but issues of race and religion loom large in the battle to run the world's largest Muslim-majority country, whose reputation for pluralism is threatened by growing conservatism, said a report in Channel News Asia.

“Differences in voting are fine, but don't forget our unity as a people, as a country,” Widodo told reporters in downtown. “What's important is not to let there be divisions between people, friends, and communities.”

Opinion polls have given Widodo a massive lead over Prabowo, but some show the gap narrowing as the campaign begins. Both sides are battling for the support of Indonesia's roughly 80 million millennials, who form more than 40 per cent of voters
Widodo’s religion and ethnicity has been a subject of intense debate and speculation, some even accusing him of being a Christain.  To counter such claims, Widodo picked a conservative cleric from Indonesia's largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), as his running mate.

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