Strongman vies with ‘people’s president’ to lead Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — About 193 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in a presidential election that will decide who leads a nation that’s an outpost of democracy in a neighborhood of authoritarian governments.
Their choice Wednesday is between five more years of the steady progress achieved under Indonesia’s first president from outside the Jakarta elite or electing a charismatic but volatile figure from the era of the Suharto military dictatorship that ended two decades ago.
In the final moves of the campaign, the front-runner, President Joko Widodo, dashed to Saudi Arabia to meet its king and perform a minor pilgrimage.
The message intended by Widodo’s trip to the birthplace of Islam was obvious after a campaign in which conservative opponents tried to discredit him as insufficiently Islamic.