Opinion polls put Indonesian president on course for election victory

Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo greets his opponent Prabowo Subianto as Head of Indonesia's Election Comission Arief Budiman smiles during a televised debate in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 30, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 April 2019

Opinion polls put Indonesian president on course for election victory

  • Supporters of Widodo expressed fears that if Subianto won the presidency he would support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and change the country’s ideology

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on course to win the country’s April 17 election, according to the latest opinion polls.
Widodo had on Tuesday opened up a clear lead on his rival, former three-star general Prabowo Subianto, a survey by private pollster Indo Barometer revealed.
Out of 1,200 people questioned, 50.8 percent indicated they would vote for the president and his running mate, 76-year-old Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin.
Subianto and his vice-presidential candidate, tycoon-turned-politician Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, 49, secured 32 percent support, while 17.2 percent of respondents abstained or were undecided.
Indo Barometer researcher Hadi Suprapto Rusli said Widodo’s record since taking office in October 2014 coupled with his Islamic credentials would be a key factor in him securing election victory.
“This survey found that a majority of Muslim voters think Widodo is a better representation of the Muslim aspirations compared to Subianto,” said Rusli.
He added that Widodo’s partnering with Amin was a Muslim “vote-getter” and had helped to buffer attacks against him and his government over policies not seen by some as being friendly toward Muslims.
Rusli told Arab News that the poll also showed that some of the president’s pro-Muslim programs, such as entrepreneurship empowerment for Islamic boarding-school students, had proved popular with Indonesians.
Supporters of Widodo expressed fears that if Subianto won the presidency he would support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and change the country’s ideology.
However, Subianto rubbished the claims during a presidential debate last Saturday, in which he and Widodo presented their visions on the country’s ideology, defense, and foreign policy.
“This doesn’t make sense,” said Subianto. “My mother was a Christian. At 18 years old, I put my life on the line (by joining the military) to fight for Pancasila (the state ideology). I bet on my life for this republic. How can I be accused of changing the Pancasila, it’s so cruel?”
A separate survey of 1,102 voters, by pollster Roy Morgan, showed similar results with Widodo getting 56.5 percent backing in March - down 0.5 percent on February figures - compared to Subianto’s 43.5 percent, which was up 0.5 percent from February.
Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said Tuesday: “Support for Subianto is strongest in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, the surrounding provinces of West Java and Banten, along with the province of Southern Sumatra. Widodo is strongest in Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java and Bali.”
The latest opinion polls are likely to bolster confidence for Widodo and his supporters, after a survey last month by the research and development division of Indonesia’s biggest newspaper, Kompas, showed the president with 49.2 percent backing and his rival on 37.4 percent, with 13 percent of those quizzed undecided. This was a red alert for an incumbent to have less than 50 percent electability.
This month’s elections, in which Indonesians will also vote for lawmakers at regional and national levels, will be a rematch of the 2014 presidential poll which Widodo won by a narrow 6 percent margin.
After almost five years in office, many of Widodo’s supporters have indicated they may abstain in the upcoming election in protest over unfulfilled campaign promises, which included a vow to eradicate corruption among prominent politicians with the most recent arrest of an Islam-based party, which is part of Widodo’s coalition.


Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

Updated 5 min 38 sec ago

Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

  • The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks
  • All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread
ORLANDO, Florida: “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later.
The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.
All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.
Disney’s new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won’t be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.
Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista.