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Prabowo, Ganjar neck and neck in Indonesia's presidential race, poll shows

Prabowo, Ganjar neck and neck in Indonesia's presidential race, poll shows
Indonesia's Defence Mnister Prabowo Subianto is locked in a tight race with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.
PHOTO: Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesia's upcoming presidential election will be a close contest between two popular candidates - the country's defence minister and the governor of one of its most populous provinces.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo have dominated opinion polls in the run-up to the Feb 14, 2024 election, while former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan trails in third place.

The candidates are expected to formally register between October and November.

A Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI) poll found that 37 per cent of 1,220 respondents polled in early August would vote for Mr Ganjar, a 1.3-point advantage over Mr Prabowo.

About a fifth would vote for Mr Anies, the poll showed.

But in a two-way run-off, Mr Prabowo would win 47.3 per cent support versus Mr Ganjar's 42.2 per cent, the poll found.

The margin of error was 2.9 per cent.

With roughly six months to go before the election, more than 30 per cent of respondents said they could still change their choice, meaning the race remains "dynamic", said Dr Djayadi Hanan from LSI.

Analysts are closely watching which candidate will receive the backing of President Joko Widodo, who, as the first leader to hail from outside the country's political and military elite, has built great cachet with voters during his 10 years in office.

A recent poll by Indikator Politik Indonesia put Mr Widodo's approval rating above 80 per cent.

As a member of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Mr Widodo has said he backs the party's candidate, Mr Ganjar.

But in recent months, he has also hinted at support for Mr Prabowo, a former special forces general whom he defeated in the last two presidential elections in 2014 and 2019.

Tensions between Mr Widodo and PDI-P chief Megawati Sukarnoputri as well as his more frequent public appearances with Mr Prabowo have led analysts to suggest the incumbent is still mulling over who to ultimately back.

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