Indonesia presidential contenders vow peaceful campaign

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Campaigning for Indonesia’s presidential election has officially begun with the two contenders releasing white doves and vowing a peaceful race as concerns simmer the campaign will sharpen religious and ethnic divides.

The election due in April pits incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo against former general Prabowo Subianto, who lost to Jokowi in 2014.

Dressed in traditional clothing, the candidates and their running mates paraded through central Jakarta on Sunday and released doves at a ceremony after reading out a peaceful campaign declaration.

Jokowi, the first Indonesian president from outside the country’s elite, has picked a conservative cleric as his running mate, aiming to neutralize criticism that he is insufficiently Muslim.

He has a big lead over Prabowo in polls and Indonesia’s recent hosting of the Asian Games further burnished his image.

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