Presidential election in Indonesia | Ex-general Prabowo Subianto in the lead according to projections

(Jakarta) Current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, with a controversial military past, is given a clear lead in Indonesia’s presidential election on Wednesday, according to initial projections.

Although accused of human rights abuses under the Suharto dictatorship at the end of the 1990s, this 72-year-old former general could take command of the third democracy in the world from October.

Big favorite before the election, the one who promised to continue the policies of outgoing President Joko Widodo, won more than 55% of the votes, according to at least two polling institutes based on a sample of 60% of ballots. , which could allow him to be elected from 1er round.

He is well ahead of Anies Baswedan, the former governor of Jakarta, and Ganjar Pranowo, former governor of Central Java.

To win in the first round, he must obtain more than 50% of the total votes and at least a fifth of the votes in more than half of the country’s provinces.

Official counts are not expected until March.

My “hope is to win,” declared Prabowo Subianto, before voting in Bogor, a city on the big island of Java, then appealing to voters: “Do your job as a citizen, vote according to your conscience!” “.

If part of the population is sensitive to his nationalist discourse, the prospect of Prabowo Subianto becoming president has raised concerns about a possible setback in democratic gains.

“I want to have a leader who will perpetuate democracy,” says consultant Debbie Sianturi before voting in Jakarta.

Prabowo Subianto “was a soldier, so I think he can be a real leader,” said Afhary Firnanda, a 28-year-old office worker living in the capital.

In addition to its president, Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands, had to elect 580 deputies and 20,000 regional and local representatives in a single day.

“Day after day, I feel that the spirit of change is growing stronger, it’s undeniable,” said Anies Baswedan, on the Metro TV channel.

Ganjar Pranowo stressed for his part that “everyone hopes for a clean election” while outgoing President Joko Widodo, after voting, did not want to anticipate a possible victory on 1er favorite Prabowo’s turn: “We’ll just wait!” “.

Jokowi’s legacy

Candidate for the third time, Mr. Prabowo developed a nationalist and populist rhetoric and pledged to continue the policies of the outgoing president, nicknamed Jokowi. Other candidates and student movements accused the latter of having used state resources to try to influence the election in favor of his minister.

As head of special forces, Mr Prabowo was accused by NGOs of ordering the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists in the 1990s, towards the end of Suharto’s regime. He denied these accusations and was never prosecuted.

For these allegations, the ex-soldier was deprived of a visa for a long time by the United States and Australia.

But thanks to a large presence on social networks, the man has softened his image among young Indonesians who often ignore the accusations against him and appreciate his commitment to continuing the policies of the very popular Jokowi.

“We have always had concerns about his true attachment to democracy,” analyzes Yoes Kenawas, researcher at the Catholic University Atma Jaya in Jakarta. “If he is elected, these questions will remain unanswered.”

Mr. Prabowo took off in the polls with the nomination alongside him for vice president of Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, Jokowi’s eldest son.

Theoretically too young, Mr. Gibran was only able to run following a controversial decision by the Constitutional Court, adopted thanks to the decisive vote of the president of the court, Anwar Usman, brother-in-law of Joko Widodo.

After 10 years in power, the latter will leave to his successor a country which is experiencing constant growth, of 5.05% in 2023, certainly a slight decline compared to 5.3% in 2022.


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