Many Indonesian parties deaf to voters' needs | Asia Pacific

Many Indonesian parties deaf to voters' needs

Many Indonesian parties deaf to voters' needs

Updated 4 April 2014, 9:38 AEST

Indonesia's 186 million voters have their chance to change the nation next week when they cast their ballot in the general election.

Amid calls from Indonesian authorities for candidates to clean up their act, corruption is looming large as an issue for the electorate.

But it's not clear that those seeking office are heeding the calls.

Correspondent: Karon Snowdon

Speakers: Aleksius Jemadu, Professor of Politics, Pelita Harapan University; Parliamentarian Helmy Fauzi, PDI-P spokesman

SNOWDON: The President himself, plus the anti-corruption commission have complained about candidates breaching election campaign rules.

The ingrained nature of money politics has upset them both.

It might be wealthy candidates effectively buying a party nomination or spending the few dollars to attract a crowd at a rally but little has changed in the decade since SBY swept into power promising an end to corruption.

Politics Professor Aleksius Jemadu from Pelita Harapan University says corruption is the number one issue for voters.

JEMADU: This is the main issue that becomes a concern for the voters.

SNOWDON: But he says the candidates aren't listening.

JEMADU: You know they just make promises but I don't think the public buy their argument. Because you know the political parties and the parliament have become new centres of corruption in Indonesia.

SNOWDON: Negative campaigning is the norm.

JEMADU: They just focus on personal attacks instead of focussing on what the people expect from them, instead of focussing on the real issues that the nation is facing today.

SNOWDON: Helmy Fauzi is a sitting candidate and a spokesman for the party of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the PDI-P.

He's confident the Party is campaigning on the issues and will win even more votes than the forecast of at least 25 per cent on April 9th.

FAUZI: Our prediction (is) that the PDI-P will win a landslide victory. We use this tagline Indonesia meaning Great Indonesia because Indonesia has the potential to be a number one country in this region. What we need now is new leadership with a new direction to reposition Indonesia to be more outward looking and to have more confidence in international engagement.

SNOWDON: Helmy Fauzi says the competition between parties is tough and complains about the use of social media to criticise PDI-P.

FAUZI: Its very extensive now. I think for the first time now since the era of Reformasi in Indonesia we see massive negative campaign utilising social media. Other parties for instance try to portray Jokowi, our Presidential candidate as a puppet of external parties. That we don't serve the interests of the Indonesian people.

SNOWDON: Is the party strongly behind Jokowi?

FAUZI: Oh yes its 100 per cent support Jokowi.

SNOWDON: And why not?

The popular Jakarta Governor, Joko Widodo, nicknamed Jokowi, comes across as honest and hard working.

The large contingent of young and first time voters are said to be flocking to him. Since being confirmed as the PDI-P's presidential candidate, this general election is taking on the tone of a presidential race.

Aleksius Jemadu says the economy, jobs and education are the issues voters want action on.

JEMADU: This election is quite unique compared to the previous ones in the sense that they can see some political figures which can convince them that they can produce meaningful changes. More and more young people see this political figure as a likeable politician that can create change that they have expected so long.

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