Jokowi to fly to S. Arabia for minor haj ahead of poll

Jokowi to fly to S. Arabia for minor haj ahead of poll

Presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo plans to go to Saudi Arabia for a minor haj (umrah) during the quiet period to seek God's blessing ahead of the election on July 9.

This year, the quiet period will run from July 6 to July 8.

Jokowi said that before all the previous elections in which he had stood he had performed umrah.

"During the quiet period, I usually perform umrah. I did so for the [2012 Jakarta] gubernatorial election and the [Surakarta] mayoral elections [in 2012, 2010 and 2005]," he said on the sidelines of his campaign trail in Surabaya, East Java, recently.

"During this period, I pray, stay quiet and just let God take care of the rest," he added.

Jokowi said that he might take his wife with him.

"If there's a vacant seat, I might take her," he said.

Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Ahmad Basara said that the Nasdem Party, which is a member of the PDI-P-led coalition backing the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla ticket, had come up with the idea.

Nasdem politician and Jokowi-Kalla campaign team spokesperson Akbar Faisal said that Nasdem chairman and media mogul Surya Paloh had initiated the trip.

"It was Pak Surya Paloh's idea so Pak Jokowi can calm himself prior to D-day," he said, declining to elaborate on the financing.

When asked about security during the trip, Akbar said: "there will be nothing special. We are going to visit God's home. We are sure God will protect us."

Akbar said a number of other politicians would join the entourage, including himself, Ahmad Basara, National Awakening Party politician (PKB) Marwan Jaffar and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) chairman Hasyim Muzadi.

According to a source close in the matter, Jokowi would be accompanied by a personal guard during the trip.

"The entourage might fly with a commercial airline and continue with a local chartered jet," the source said.

The source also said that Jokowi's wife Iriana and one of their children would be onboard. Akbar said that the entourage would pray for the best result on July 9, adding that "we also call on supporters and volunteers to watch the voting and subsequent-counting process closely.

If you find any indication of fraudulent practices or money politics, report immediately to the relevant institutions or to our team."

The minor haj could be seen as an attempt to further rebuff the claims of malicious smear campaigns that has questioned Jokowi's religion.

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