Indonesia students plan to protest against alleged poll interference

1 week ago 28

JAKARTA - Hundreds of Indonesian students and activists will stage protests on Feb 12 over what they see as outgoing President Joko Widodo’s abuse of power to sway voters in this week’s election in favour of frontrunner Prabowo Subianto, organisers said.

Jokowi, as the incumbent is known, has not explicitly endorsed any of the three candidates vying to replace him as leader of the world’s third-largest democracy. But he has made highly publicised appearances with Mr Prabowo, and his eldest son is running on the same ticket as vice-president.

Two opinion surveys last week projected Mr Prabowo could secure more than 50 per cent of the votes on Feb 14, allowing him to win in a single round. Rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo were seen at least 20 points behind.

Some voters have taken issue with Jokowi’s perceived lack of neutrality, saying it undermines Indonesia’s democracy by giving one candidate an unfair advantage .

“The ethical and moral breaches by Jokowi show that he is against a critical public voice,” said protest organiser Aksi Gejayan Memanggil from Yogyakarta on Instagram.

Another protest was planned in the capital Jakarta by several rights groups.

The presidential office has denied political meddling by Jokowi.

The planned protests come after a documentary produced by Indonesian investigative journalist Dandhy Laksono alleged that state officials including police and regional heads, and government welfare resources have been used to favour Mr Prabowo.

The film, “Dirty Vote”, released on Feb 11, had garnered nearly 4 million views on YouTube the next day.

Reuters could not independently verify the allegations made in the documentary.

Mr Prabowo’s campaign team has dismissed the accusations and described “most of the contents in the film as defamatory”.

The government has said social welfare is not being used to benefit any candidate.

The student protests also come as Indonesia enters a cooling-off period until voting day on Wednesday. Authorities were seen removing candidates’ billboards and po...

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