Indonesia has kicked off a three-week campaign for parliamentary elections due on April 9. There are more than 6,600 candidates vying for 560 seats in the House of Representatives and 132 in the Upper House. Another 16,000 hopefuls are competing at the provincial and district levels, making it arguably the world’s largest single-day election process. Recent surveys put the PDI-P ahead with about 20 per cent of the vote, while the Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is struggling and expected to fare badly.
The Democratic Party won the 2009 presidential and legislative election in landslides but its advantage has been lost through the corrosion of corruption scandals, policy paralysis and a major slide in the President’s popularity.
Still the Democrats believe they can secure 15 per cent of the seats and are polling in third place behind PDI-P and Golkar, once the political machine of the late dictator Suharto.