Parties show force in campaign wrap up

Parties show force in campaign wrap up
(L) Supporters of the Aceh Party form a procession at Paloh Lada field, Krueng Geukueh, North Aceh, on Saturday. (R) A dangdut singer, Monica, entertains supporters of the Nasdem Party at Taruna Remaja field.

Political parties spent the last day of the open campaign period throwing major rallies all over the country for a final push ahead of election day.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman and former president Megawati Soekarnoputri on Saturday flew from Bali to Central Java to meet with thousands of supporters at the party's rallies in Klaten and Sukoharjo. Although many surveys have predicted that the PDI-P will win the upcoming election, Megawati has urged party supporters to closely monitor nearby polling stations to avoid election fraud.

"In 2004 and 2009, I should have won the presidential election, but I was cheated and failed to secure a victory," she said in Klaten.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, beat Megawati twice in the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections by a landslide. Central Java is known as a PDI-P stronghold, with the party winning all three legislative elections in the province since 1999.

PDI-P presidential candidate and Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, meanwhile, visited West Papua and Papua this weekend to meet with party supporters in the country's easternmost provinces. "No presidential candidate has come here before, but I did because the sun rises in the east, in Papua. That's how important is Papua to Indonesia," said Jokowi, to a cheering audience at PTC square in Papua.

Jokowi also pledged he would make Papua, which has been struggling with a lack of infrastructure, his priority should he be elected president. "I understand that Papua's problems should be solved with heart, with real work. I'm not going to promise you too many things, but one thing's for sure, Papua's resources should be used for Papuans' own well-being," he said.

In East Java, the Dems, the Golkar Party and the Gerindra Party held rallies with their respective leaders attending as the main campaigners.

While Yudhoyono stole the show at Gelora Delta in Sidoarjo, Gerindra presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and Golkar's Aburizal Bakrie met with thousands of supporters at Surabaya's Tambaksari Square and the East Java Expo, respectively. "Golkar must win as it has dreams and strategies for how to develop the country," Aburizal said.

In Jakarta, the Hanura Party gathered its supporters at Bung Karno Stadium, with the party's presidential candidate, Wiranto, and his running mate, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, serving as the party's front men.

Also on Saturday, the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) said it was still compiling data from the Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) regarding the number of violations recorded throughout the open campaign period. "The whole recap might be finished tomorrow [Sunday] or Monday," a spokesperson told The Jakarta Post.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) scheduled the open campaign period to run from March 16 until April 5, with a cooling-off period from April 6 through April 8.

Bawaslu has summonsed President Yudhoyono over allegations he misused state facilities for his party's campaign. The President, however, has claimed he never received Bawaslu's summons.

"As of today, April 5, the President has not received a summons from Bawaslu in connection with the allegation of the using state money to finance his party's political campaign," Julian Aldrin Pasha said in a statement on Saturday.

The spokesman, however, said State Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Presidential Secretariat head Nanang Dj. Priadi were summonsed to clarify the allegation. "Therefore, the state secretary ordered Nanang to fulfil the summons on Friday. The latter was received by Bawaslu commissioners Nelson Simanjuntak, Bernard D. Sutrisno and Daniel Zuchron."

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