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Jokowi's Personal Style Of Election Campaigning A Hit With Indonesians
Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/jokowi-s-personal-style/1038678.html
Source Date: Monday, March 17, 2014
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Indonesia
Created: Mar 17, 2014

JAKARTA: Campaigning in Indonesia's parliamentary election has begun over the weekend.

Even as the contest is only beginning to heat up, observers say one man is already changing the way campaigning is normally conducted in Indonesia, and voter's expectations of politicians.

The Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Central Jakarta has been the choice venue for political parties to hold big rallies.

More than 100,000 supporters of the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) converged to mark the start of this year's parliamentary election campaign.

Its leader made an impassioned speech, but at some distance from his audience in the stands - an effort observers say might not be good enough in the current political climate.

Danang Kristianto, political analyst at Strategic Asia, said: "I don't think they will win this election - 2014. Most of the people are now saying we don't need religious parties but we need the ideas of what these religious parties bring."

In another part of Jakarta, Indonesia's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) chose a more intimate engagement with its constituents.

It has been a familiar approach for the hugely popular Joko Widodo - or Jokowi - since he took office as Jakarta governor last year.

PDIP has named him its presidential candidate - a move expected to boost the party's chances in this parliamentary election.

Jokowi's more personal approach has been a hit with Indonesians and has even won over opponents.

Dino Patti Djalal, contestant at Cemokrat Party Presidential Convention, said: "I'm encouraged in seeing some politicians showing a lot of originality. Jokowi - the governor of Jakarta. He's outstanding, a good person, a good politician, very original. He knows how to make the people and public believe in him."

Golkar - another established party expected to be among the top challengers this year - has also changed its campaigning. Once used to holding big rallies as a show of force, Golkar is now opting for greater engagement and less entertainment.

Idrus Marham, Secretary-General of Golkar Party, said: "Our campaign is designed to introduce speakers to discuss concepts and ideas. We are not bringing in singers. We do not provide entertainment. This is our way to change our political approach to the people. Not entertainment."

Political parties in Indonesia spend a substantial part of their budget for campaigning, usually reflected in the country's economic indicators during election year.

But this time around, the hundreds of millions of dollars being splurged on this democratic process might just be spend differently from what Indonesians are used to.

The person bringing about that change is currently sitting right there, in his office, as Governor of Jakarta.

Jokowi's personal style is already shaping his party - the PDIP's way of campaigning.

And together, as front-runners, it looks like they are setting the pace for other parties in this year's election. 

- CNA/de
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