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Indonesians join the final campaign events before the presidential election

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The three candidates in Indonesia's presidential election held their final campaign events in front of tens of thousands of people on Saturday, four days before more than 200 million citizens cast their votes in the world’s third-largest democracy.

The frontrunner, former special forces general Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, 36-year-old Surakarta mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, held their final rally at a Jakarta stadium.

“On Feb. 14, we will all determine the future of our children and grandchildren. ... We strive to bring prosperity to all Indonesian people. We will continue what has been built by previous presidents,” Subianto said.

While he is the oldest candidate, Subianto’s running mate is the youngest — though his selection provoked controversy as he is the son of the current president. They are pursuing youth support, with social media and video billboard campaigns featuring Pixar-style animated depictions of themselves. They’re meant to soften the image of the gruff-talking former general, who’s been accused of past human rights abuses, which he has denied.

Former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan together with his running mate, Muhaimin Iskandar, held their final campaign event at another stadium in the capital.

“Our responsibility is to work together to stop injustice, inequality and bring about change,” Baswedan said in front of tens of thousands of residents and the leaders of the political parties who support his race.

Meanwhile, thousands of people dressed in black and white shirts gathered in Central Java province to support the governing party's candidate. Ganjar Pranowo, a former governor of the province, held his final rallies in Surakarta and Semarang, in the area that is vital to his campaign.

Speaking in Surakarta, Pranowo emphasized that he and his running mate Mohammad Mahfud have listened to the people they met during the campaigns, such as those who questioned the high price of rice.

“A leader cannot be silent if there are screams among the people,” Pranowo said.

Nearly 205 million Indonesians, predominantly young people, are eligible to vote in the presidential and legislative elections in the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world

Even though they have held several massive in-person campaign events, the three contenders mostly campaigned through social media, reflecting increasing internet access even in rural areas.

The presidential election will determine who will succeed President Joko Widodo, serving his second and final term.

Since mid-October 2023, support for Subianto has continued to increase at the expense of his rivals.

The Indikator Politik Indonesia agency said in its latest survey that it was possible that Subianto and Raka could could win outright in the first round, but it was also possible that the election would go to a runoff.