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Jakarta Post

Jokowi aims for 70 percent votes in Central Java stronghold

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java   /   Wed, April 10, 2019   /   03:45 pm
Jokowi aims for 70 percent votes in Central Java stronghold A throng of supporters take pictures of President Joko Widodo on March 24, 2019, during his first campaign rally in Serang, Banten province. The Surakarta native is seeking reelection on April 17 against his rival in the 2014 election, Prabowo Subianto. (Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

The incumbent intends to repeat his 2014 performance in cities and regencies across Central Java to secure at least 70 percent of all votes in the province, which is widely regarded as his stronghold. 

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo addressed thousands of his supporters on Tuesday at Sriwedari Stadium in Surakarta, his hometown.

Donning his trademark white shirt, Jokowi greeted those gathered at the rally in Javanese, which prompted loud cheers, expressing his delight at being back in the city where “I started my career in government”.

Jokowi served for seven years as the Surakarta mayor after he was elected in 2005, which contributed to his astronomical rise through national politics in successive years. 

In the 2014 presidential election, Jokowi won a majority vote in Central Java, gaining 66.65 percent of votes against rival Prabowo Subianto’s 33.35 percent.

“Seeing the enthusiasm at [this rally], I no longer want to gain a mere 66 percent of votes,” Jokowi told his supporters, referring to the election on April 17. “We need to gain at least 70 percent of the vote or [more], whether it is 75 percent, 80 percent or 85 percent.”

Recalling the 2014 election, Jokowi said that he and then-running mate Jusuf Kalla won 84 percent of the Surakarta vote. “I come from here, so we should not get the same result [this year] as we did in 2014," he said. "How about 90 percent?”

Jokowi, who is running for reelection this year alongside running mate Ma’ruf Amin, went on to say that he hoped to achieve similar results in other cities and regencies in the province, including Sragen, Karanganyar, Wonogiri, Sukoharjo, Klaten and Boyolali.

Central Java is a stronghold of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the ruling party backing Jokowi's reelection bid that also supported his successful presidential bid in 2014. 

PDI-P patron and chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri also attended Tuesday’s rally, along with her daughter and party executive Puan Maharani.

With only eight days remaining from Tuesday until voting day, Jokowi called on his supporters, coalition party members and campaign volunteers to work hard in a consolidated effort to ensure victory for the Jokowi-Ma'ruf camp.

He also stressed that “Central Java will be very crucial in determining whether or not we will win”, and that the province's votes could make up for any potential losses in other regions. 

Prabowo, who is again challenging Jokowi this year in a repeat of the 2014 two-horse race, is scheduled to hold a rally on Wednesday at Sriwedari Stadium as part of the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno camp's Central Java campaign tour. (jun)