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A Guide On Indonesia's Presidential Election Candidates

For those who are still undecided. Use your rights wisely.

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On Wednesday, July 9th 2014, nearly 190 million voters in Indonesia will undergo the third Presidential election that might possibly change the fate of the nation for the upcoming term of five years.

Indonesia is one of the world's greatest democracy nation with high economic potential--a member of G20 and one of the best performing economies in Southeast Asia and globally--however, is held back due to high level of corruption and domestic issues, such as infrastructure, education, national health, and social security.

The current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose reign spanned over two consecutive five-year terms, is now ineligible to seek for a third term under the current political regulations.

How does it work? Only Indonesian citizens over 17 or married are eligible to vote, they will elect one of the candidates for President and Vice-President in one single round. Whichever have the most votes (more than 50% nationally and 20% from at least each of 18 provinces) will rule over the next term.

This year, there will be two pairs of candidate--Prabowo Subianto with Hatta Rajasa, and Joko Widodo with Jusuf Kalla--fighting for the honourable positions of President and Vice-President of Indonesia, respectively.

According to survey, there will be at least one-fifth of the population who's still undecided, which will make a very significant impact on the result of the election.

Therefore, I compiled the brief introductions on each pair of candidates, focusing on their recognised awards, past positions, and honours. Before you scroll down, I'm going to assure you that none of the negative point nor religious view of each candidates are made here. You can observe them further by looking at the source/research/watch the candidate debates(in bahasa) here.

Prabowo Subianto - 1st candidate for Presidency / Via

Born in Jakarta, 17 October 1951, Prabowo is an Indonesian businessman, politician, and former General Lieutenant of Indonesia National Armed Force (TNI)

Prabowo's grandfather was the founder of Bank Negara Indonesia, leader of Dewan Pertimbangan Agung Sementara (Provisional Advisory Council) and BPUPKI, an organization set up in March 1945 by the Japanese administration occupying Indonesia.

His father served the former President of Indonesia, Suharto, for the economy, research and technology.

He eventually married Suharto's daughter.

He enrolled in Indonesia's Military Academy in 1970 and graduated with several other leaders such as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Prabowo served in the Indonesian National Army Special Force (Kopassus) as the commander of Group 1, which was one of the Indonesia Army's Nanggala Commando Units in East Timor, former Portuguese territory which Indonesia has invaded at that time. Appointed at the age of 26, he was the youngest Nanggala commander.

On 1998, he was appointed by Suharto as the head of Kostrad(Army Strategic Reserve Command), the key of Jakarta's garrison.

Upon leaving the military, Prabowo joined his brother's business. He purchased a paper pulp and plantation company based in Kalimantan.

Today, he controls several prestigious companies in Indonesia and abroad, which includes oil, natural gas, coal, palm oil plantation, and fishery industries.

Prabowo ran for vice-precidency in 2009 election as a part of Megawati Sukarnoputri's campaign. He was one of the wealthiest candidate during the election.

Prabowo was elected as president of Indonesia Pencak Silat(Indonesia's traditional martial arts) Association in 2004 and was re-elected for three consecutive terms, as well as The Indonesian Farmers' Association for two consecutive terms, and The Indonesian Farmers' Association in 2008.

Prabowo is known for his international approach by sending talented Indonesian students to study abroad and put them in higher position when they go back home, as well as his contribution to carry out justice for Indonesian labour workers whom were potentially the victims of human trafficking and sentenced in abroad courts.

Hatta Rajasa - 1st candidate for Vice-Presidency / Via

Born in Palembang, South Sumatra, December 19, 1953. He graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology, majoring in Petroleum Engineering. He is a former Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs (Menteri Koordinator Bidang Perekonomian Republik)

Previously, he worked in different aspects of Indonesian Ministry, such as:

2004-2009: Minister of Transport (United Indonesia Cabinet)

2001-2004: Minister of Research and Technology (Mutual Assistance Cabinet)

2000-now: Secretary General of National Mandate Party

He has been the chairman of National Mandate Party (PAN) since 2010.

His daughter is married to the youngest son of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Joko Widodo - 2nd candidate for Presidency


Joko Widodo--or widely known as Jokowi--began to raise into spotlight when he was elected as Mayor of Surakarta. Under his reign, he rebranded Surakarta as the centre of Javanese culture under "The Spirit of Java," as well as promoted the city as the member of Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2006. Since then, the city of Surakarta is often chosen to host OWHC conferences and international music festivals.

He also carried out several projects in the past, such as revitalisation of green spaces, relocation of junk traders in Surakarta, applying strict regulations on cutting down trees along the city’s main streets, building traditional markets, healthcare insurance programme, upgrading the public transport, and supporting the Indonesian car project by building a Techno Park.

Following his achievements, he ran for Jakarta Governor Election in 2012. He and his deputy, Basuki Purnama(Ahok) quickly became the most powerful and the most highlighted candidate in medias during the campaign. As the result, he was elected as the Governor of Jakarta.

Upon taking the position, he immediately applied his 'blusukan' approach, the practise of regularly visiting quite poor areas across the Capital. His hands-on style became popular among the citizens in Jakarta and Indonesia.

He introduced universal healthcare programme to Jakarta, known as Kartu Jakarta Sehat.

His awards and honours include the following:

2008: listed by Tempo magazine as one of the 'Top 10 Indonesian Mayors of 2008'.

2011: awarded the Bintang Jasa Utama by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

2012: received 3rd place of the 2012 World Mayor Prize for "transforming a crime-ridden city into a regional center for art and culture and an attractive city to tourists.

2013: listed as one of "The Leading Global Thinkers of 2013" in Foreign Policy (magazine) and nominated as the global mayor of the month by the The City Mayors Foundation based in London.

2014: listed by Fortune (magazine) as one of the 'The World's 50 Greatest Leaders'

He graduated in 1985 from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, majoring in Forestry.

He's known for his penchant for loud music, owning a bass signed by a member of heavy-metal band Metallica.

Muhammad Jusuf Kalla - 2nd candidate for Vice-Presidency / Via

Jusuf Kalla(JK) is an Indonesian politician who was the former vice-president of Indonesia, Chairman of Indonesian Red Cross Society, and also Chairman for Golongan Karya Party.

He attended Hasanuddin University in Makassar and has been politically active since his days in college. He graduated from the Economics Faculty.

By the time he graduated, the economic condition was bleak and his father decided to shut down the family company, NV Hadji Kalla. However, JK took over the company and the company slowly became successful, expanded from the export-import trading business into other sectors such as: hotels, infrastructure construction, car dealerships, aerobridges, shipping, real estate, transportation, a shrimp farm, oil palm, and telecommunications.

He's also graduated from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, Paris. NV Hadji Kalla is now known as Kalla Group.

JK is known to be active in many well-known organisations. He was chairman of the Indonesian Economics Graduates Association (ISEI) in Makassar and proceeds to be an adviser for ISEI. He was involved in Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) with great extent. He became the chairman for KADIN in South Sulawesi and coordinated for KADIN in eastern Indonesia. He's also the board of trustees for three universities in Makassar, as well as contributed socially by building the Al Markaz Mosque and becoming chairman of its Islamic centre.

During his political career, he became the first ever Indonesian vice-president elected directly by the citizens, alongside with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his first term of presidency.

He became minister of Industry and Trade under the former President Abdurrahman Wahid's reign. Upon Abdurrahman's dismiss from the office, Abdurrahman was replaced by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, and Kalla was appointed to the senior post of Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare.

In his ministry record, Kalla helped solve several nation conflicts, which includes:

-the inter-religious conflict in his native island of Sulawesi, Poso.

-facilitated a negotiation which resulted in the signing of the Malino II Accord to put an end to the conflict which had gone on for three years.

-two months later, solved another conflict in Sulawesi.

-solved another similar conflict on Ambon and Molucca through a second Malino Declaration

Let's celebrate democracy!


Elections are supposed to be fun, whether you are rooting for candidate A or B. We're a huge nation made of hundreds of language and culture, and more than thousands of political views. Make your voice heard. Avoid abstaining if possible, in order to prevent black campaigns from violating your rights.

Happy voting!

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