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.


Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

Updated 13 December 2019

Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

  • Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement
  • Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain

PARIS: The EU will have to rebuild its ties with London after Boris Johnson’s election victory which is likely to lead to Brexit in January, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner said on Friday.
“We now have to rebuild relations with Great Britain which is an important partner,” Thierry Breton told French RTL radio, saying the bloc wanted “balanced” trade relations with the UK.
With almost all results declared for the 650-seat British parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured a sweeping victory and he is now expected to deliver on his promise to “Get Brexit Done.”
His majority should allow him to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.
Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.
Breton said he expected the European Council meeting Friday in Brussels to give the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier a new mandate for talks with London.
He said Britain was a very important trade partner for the EU, “but we are by far the biggest trading partner for Britain.”
Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain.