Campaigning is underway in 17 of 35 towns and regencies in Central Java, ahead of regional elections scheduled for this year.
In some regions, the political tensions are being strongly felt as political parties get involved in campaign activities, where noted politicians are scheduled to take part.
The Golkar Party claimed its candidates would win half the polls in the province, which has a total population of 33 million.
“We’re optimistic we can win at least eight of the 17 seats being contested across the province,”
Golkar Central Java chairman Wisnu Suhardono said Monday in Purbalingga.
He added a third of the party’s candidates running for mayor or regent in the 17 towns and regencies were confident of winning, while 70 percent of party members competing as running mates were optimistic about winning.
“We’ve prepared everything,” Wisnu said. “Our political machine in Central Java is well oiled.”
He added the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) would prove to be the toughest competitor, particularly after it swept the legislative elections in the province.
“It’s true that we’re lagging behind the PDI-P when it comes to the number of legislative seats we’ve won,” Wisnu said.
“But for the elections for mayor and regent, the results will be different because the determining factor will be the candidates, not the parties.”
PDI-P Central Java deputy chairman Bambang Haryanto Baharudin was just as upbeat about his party’s prospects, saying they expected to win 70 percent of mayor and regent posts in the 17 regions.
“We could’ve set a higher target, but we don’t want to be too confident,” he told The Jakarta Post.
He added the PDI-P had not needed to ally with any other parties for the polls, and its candidates had accordingly all been paired with running mates from within the party, except in Rembang.
“The problem there is that we only have five legislative seats in Rembang,” Bambang said.
He added the PDI-P viewed the Democratic Party as its main threat.
“Golkar’s going to be something to watch, too, so we don’t consider them as insignificant,” he said.
Central Java Elections Commission (KPUD) chairwoman Ida Budhiati said the 17 polls would proceed as scheduled.
“All municipal- and regency-level polling commissions have reported their readiness,” she told the Post.
“The main problem earlier, funding, has been successfully dealt with by each of the municipal and regency administrations.”
She added each region would require an average Rp 10 billion to hold the elections.
“The earlier funding problem came about because the administrations were late in allocating the money, mostly because it isn’t a routine expenditure,” Ida said.