After weeks of speculation and negotiations among Indonesia's political parties, the two leading hopefuls and their respective parties have formed coalitions and declared tickets for the race.
Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on May 19th announced the Jakarta governor's candidacy for president and an electoral alliance with the National Awakening Party (PKB), the People's Conscience Party (Hanura) and the National Democratic Party (NasDem).
Jokowi, 52, named Jusuf Kalla, 72, a former vice president and ex-Golkar Party chairman, as his running mate.
Golkar however, is not backing a PDI-P-led coalition. Leaders of the party associated with former President Suharto have joined a coalition led by Jokowi's main rival, Prabowo Subianto.
Former Lieutenant Gen. Prabowo, 62, and his Great Indonesia Movement party (Gerindra), now have a larger coalition than the one led by Jokowi.
The Gerindra-led coalition counts six parties, including Golkar, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB). Prabowo and Hatta Rajasa, his PAN running mate, declared their candidacies May 20th.
The coalition backing Prabowo controls 50% of the popular vote based on how Indonesians voted in April 9th legislative elections, whereas the coalition behind Jokowi controls 40% as reflected in International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) poll results.
The two coalitions also represent a mix of secular and faith-based parties, ending speculation that Indonesia's five Islamic parties might contest the election as a united bloc. Four of these parties, PPP, PAN, PKS and PBB are backing Prabowo while the fifth, PKB, is siding with Joko.
Both sides have strengths: analyst
One electoral wild card has yet to be played.
The ruling Democratic Party, which drew 10.2% of votes on April 9th, could even the contest by joining Jokowi's bloc. Party leaders remain undecided.
"Our party is still working on making a decision," Syarief Hasan, the party's chief executive, told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Arbi Sanit, University of Indonesia political analyst, predicts a tough-fought contest.
"The two coalitions have their strengths. Jokowi can rely on Jusuf's influences at the grassroots level, his experiences as a former vice president, as well as his networking at the international level," he told Khabar on May 21st.
Prabowo, for his part, enlisted support from a number of influential personalities, Arbi said, including former chief justice of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD, who is managing Prabowo's campaign, and dangdut singer Rhoma Irama.
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