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Indonesia's Widodo unveils populist 2019 budget ahead of election

Dole-out measures favored over infrastructure spendings

Indonesian President Joko Widodo deliver a speech at the parliament in Jakarta on Aug. 16.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo's draft state budget for 2019 promises a raft of dole-outs as he prepares to do battle for a second term in next year's presidential election.

The draft, presented by the president on Thursday, included increases in subsidies as well as civil servants' pay, and a doubling of benefits to poor households. These moves -- which Widodo was quick to stress were aimed at achieving equitable growth -- are a not-so-subtle attempt to win over voters ahead of the election in April, where he will face Prabowo Subianto, a former military general, who plans to campaign on populist policies.

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