Indonesian Presidential Candidates Spar Over Corruption


Indonesian President Joko Widodo has accused his election rival of allowing corrupt candidates on his legislative ticket and failing to include women in senior positions.

Widodo and former General Prabowo Subianto, along with their running mates, faced off Thursday in the first of five debates before the April 17 election. The debate focused on terrorism, human rights, corruption, and law and order.

Opinion polls show Widodo commanding 52 percent to 54 percent popular support and Subianto 30 percent to 35 percent. About 10 percent of voters are undecided and another 15 percent are considered swing voters, meaning the race has the potential to tighten.

Subianto, making his second bid for president after being narrowly defeated by Widodo in 2014, waffled when asked why his party has the highest number of candidates with corruption records.

Maybe the corruption they did was not huge, maybe he or she just, what I mean is, the theft was indeed wrong, but the most important thing to be eradicated was a corrupter who stole trillions of rupiah (hundreds of millions of dollars) of state money, of peoples money, he said.

Questioning Subiantos opening statement of a commitment to empowering women, Widodo said he has nine women in important Cabinet positions but there are few women in the leadership of Subiantos Gerindra party.

Subianto said his party has many female candidates and criticized the quality of decision making by Widodos women ministers.

Widodo, the first Indonesian president from outside the countrys Jakarta elite, has made upgrading Indonesias infrastructure the signature policy of his five year-term.

In debating human rights, none of the candidates addressed Subiantos involvement in human rights abuses during the dictator Suhartos regime that ended two decades ago.

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