More than 4,400 Indonesian expats across the UAE will be casting their votes for the country’s general elections tomorrow (March 12), a top diplomat has said.
“For the first time in our history, Indonesians will elect their president and vice-president, as well as members of the Indonesian parliament — the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) — at the same time,” Nur Ebrahim Kbri, first secretary for information at the Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News.
“On Friday, non-resident Indonesians who have registered as voters will cast their ballots, ahead of voters in Indonesia who will go to the polls on March 17,” he added.
The voters will choose between incumbent president Joko Widodo and former military general Prabowo Subianto. Widodo has senior Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate, while Subianto is contesting with former Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga Uno as vice-president hopeful. In the previous elections in 2014, Widodo beat Prabowo to become president.
Indonesian expats will also cast ballots simultaneously for legislative members from 16 national parties who are contesting 20,000 seats in national board and local councils.
In the past, the country’s presidential elections have not been held as the same time as the ones to elect parliamentary and legislative members.
“I urge Indonesian fellows in the UAE to exercise their rights, and vote in the coming general elections. A vote signifies our active contribution as well as our shared responsibility toward our country on the shaping of its future development trajectory,” said Husin Bagis, Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE.
Indonesian election rules stipulate that any Indonesian 17 years old or older is eligible to vote. In addition, those who are married but younger than 17 years can also vote.
According to Kbri, voters in the UAE can cast their ballots in one of three ways.
“A total of 2,667 voters are expected to vote by visiting either the election committee at the Embassy, or polling stations designated by the consulate for voters in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Another 812 expats will vote via the dropbox system, in which officials will visit various areas, like Ruwais and Al Ain, to collect ballots. The remainder will mail in their ballots to the election committee via Emirates Post,” he explained.
Counting of the votes will begin on April 17, with the official recap scheduled to take place between April 18 and April 22.
About 100,000 Indonesian expats reside in the UAE at present, with the majority of them employed either in the oil and gas sector, or as domestic workers.