Indonesian presidential election favorite names VP

Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo - a one time little-known furniture retailer - names a VP from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's reign as his number two.

Indonesian presidential election favorite names VP

World Bulletin / News Desk

With just one day to go before registration, the man opinion polls predict will be the next president of the most populous Muslim nation in the world announced his running mate.

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo took to the stage in a historic Jakarta building Monday to name Jusuf Kalla - a philanthropist and successful entrepreneur - as his vice-presidential candidate for the July 9 elections.

Kalla is seen as bringing experience in government and strong business credentials to the junior Jokowi's presidential ticket. The 72-year-old served as vice president in the first period of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's reign, and is also the chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross.

His careerpath is in stark contrast to that of Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) frontrunner Jokowi, a one time little-known furniture retailer, whose stock began to rise in 2005 when he became mayor of the central Javanese city of Solo. The 52-year-old was reelected with a landslide victory in 2010, only to resign in 2012 to run for mayor in Jakarta. He emerged victorious, has since gained a reputation for incorruptibility, and recently ranked third in the annual World Mayor Prize.

For many, he is seen as a welcome change - Indonesian politicians tend to be millionaires or retired army generals.

"In the name of Allah, we will be able to bring a movement for change in our beloved country,” said Jokowi as he announced his candidate on Monday, Kalla standing at his side.

The two candidates then took to bicycles, and accompanied by hundreds of supporters pedaled to the election commission office to register their candidacy. Tomorrow is the deadline.

The bicycle ride is not the first time Jokowi has resorted to populist methods of promotion. He simply dressed politician uses a Kopaja public minibus for trips around Jakarta, and likes to arrive unannounced in different parts of the capital where opens discussion with locals about issues affecting them. The visits are known locally as blusukans, or "unscheduled visits."

To put forward a candidate, a party must have the support of 20 percent of parliament and 25 percent of the valid votes nationwide. Jokowi's PDI-P finished in first place with 18.95 percent in April 9 legislative elections, not enough to run the country, never mind put forward a presidential candidate. The PDI-P has since been securing coalition support.

Before declaring Kalla as vice president, Jokowi first met with those supporting him - the National Awakening Party (PKB), which has replaced the Prosperous Justice Party as the country's leading Islamic party, newcomer Nasdem, and the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), headed by former Indonesian military commander Wiranto. Together, they hold 39.97 percent of the vote.

With just one other candidate, registering the presidential run-in will be a two-horse race, Jokowi facing off against Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) leader Prabowo Subianto - a businessman and former lieutenant general in the country’s armed forces.

In the 2009 presidential election, Subianto was the vice-presidential candidate for PDI-P chair Megawati Sukarnoputri - the daughter of Indonesia's first president, Sukarno. He is also the former husband of Siti Hediati "Titiek" Suharto, late President (and dictator) Suharto's daughter.

To field a candidate, Gerindra - which finished third in the legislative elections with 11.81 percent of the vote - secured the backing of the United Development Party, the National Mandate Party, Golkar and the Prosperous Justice Party. The total vote was 47,45 percent.

Subianto has announced Hatta Rajasa - a close confidante of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – who will be forced to step down in July having met the two term, 10-year limit - as his running mate.

In the latest opinion polls, Jokowi is around 12 percent ahead.

Indonesia - the world's third largest democracy - was a military dictatorship until 15 years ago.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Mayıs 2014, 15:52