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Politics

Local polls capture essence of national politics

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo and Golkar leader Aburizal Bakrie sing Indonesia's national anthem at Golkar headquarters on Dec. 3. (Photo by Simon Roughneen)

JAKARTA -- Local elections will be held simultaneously across Indonesia for the first time on Wednesday, after the issue of whether to directly elect mayors and other local government leaders spurred ructions, recriminations and walkouts in the national parliament last year.

     Back then, parties supporting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who had just been elected to office, voted to retain the decade-old system of direct local elections, but the parties backing the losing presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, successfully voted to scrap it.

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