Which economic sectors are thriving during the elections in Indonesia?

Jakarta- The electoral process in large countries is associated with busy economic and commercial activities, much of which focuses on electoral campaigning and campaign activity, which is the essence and most influential of elections.

Indonesian election data in terms of the number of voters, candidates and contested seats, and its coincidence for the first time with presidential elections, shows the amount of publicity accompanying the election campaign. Next Wednesday, February 14, approximately 520 million voters will go to vote at 823,220 polling stations.

The number of parties eligible to participate in legislative elections this year reached 24 political parties, which presented 9,919 candidates to fill 580 seats in the Central Parliament, and 20,000 representatives were selected in the parliaments of 38 regions and 514 governorates.

Each presidential candidate forms alliances with political parties to secure support for himself, in return for which he fulfills their demands in the event of his victory, as he is required to obtain 50% of the votes cast + 1. , and no less than that. More than 20% of the vote, winning in more than half of the 38 governorates. With the presidency, that increases the cost of presidential candidates' expenses to secure this coalition, in addition to intensive and expensive campaign campaigns.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - JANUARY 23: Motorists drive past flags of different political parties placed on the streets in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 23, 2024.  Flags of various political parties and banners displaying photographs of candidates are being put up along the roads.  As the country gears up for the upcoming elections starting on February 14, 2024.
Flags of parties participating in elections on a street in Jakarta (Anatolia)

election at high cost

The geography of Indonesia, which consists of 13,000 islands, including approximately 7,000 inhabited islands, home to 270 million people, adds to the complexity of election management in remote areas far from cities, in terms of setting up polling stations and ensuring the transportation of ballot papers. Contributes. Boxes and their monitoring.

The Finance Ministry allocated a budget of 71.3 trillion rupees ($4.5 billion) for the 2024 elections, making it the largest in the post-reform era, and almost 3 times the budget for the 2019 elections, which was 25.59 trillion rupees. (Approximately $1.5 billion).

The General Election Commission said the 18 political parties contesting the elections have so far spent about 165 billion rupees (about $10 million) to cover the expenses of their candidates.

Social media platforms in Indonesia find opportunity to promote candidates during the election season due to their wide dissemination in the society, especially Instagram, Facebook and TikTok platforms, which represent the main context for political marketing.

Figures for 2023 from the Digital Indonesia Foundation show that out of 212 million internet users – at the beginning of the year – there are 167 million active users on social media platforms. In detail, among them there are 184 million Instagram users, 178 million Facebook users. And Tik Tok has 150 million users.

The value of political advertisements from August 2020 to October 2023 is estimated to be approximately Rs 71 billion (about 4.5 million dollars), with a total of 272 thousand 10 advertisements aired.

Design of advertisements and promotional materials - Al Jazeera
Number of social media users in Indonesia reaches 167 million (Al Jazeera)

Commercial sectors are recovering

Elections in Indonesia depend on increasing the presence of candidates and parties' symbols and their colors in electoral campaigns. Each party has a flag, logo and colors that distinguish it, and the extent of the spread of the party and its candidates is demonstrated by the presence of its symbols on the streets and in places where parties are allowed to publish their flags and images. Is.

Clothing and accessories promoting presidential candidates and party logos and flags are also on display in large numbers in the markets. Traders from the “Sneen” market, which print such advertising materials, say: “We get up to 5,000 orders for T-shirts weekly,” because they are the most popular medium. and effectiveness used by candidates.

Factory owners said that in some of them the amount of work doubled, with income increasing by 100%. In one shop, 4 printing machines worked day and night, and they have the capacity to print up to 3,000 square meters of material per day. To produce over 200,000. Important in this election alone.

A study prepared by the Economic Center for the widely circulated Kobas newspaper estimated that the volume of business activity of advertising material for election campaigns in the current elections was 100 trillion rupees (about $6 billion).

Dr. Fitra Faisal, former spokesperson for the Indonesian Commerce Ministry, says, “Some sectors of the economy are active in the election environment, especially the printing, advertising and textile industries, thanks to the huge budget allocated by the government.” The election, worth $4.5 billion.”

In his speech on Al Jazeera Net, he said: “But there is an additional budget that President Joko spends under social assistance, especially after his son contested the election with Prabowo Subianto, the vice-presidential candidate, which in Indonesia we call Are.” Pig Box Policy,” and it falls within the President's powers to spend on social assistance in a way that indirectly serves his interests, such as his son's candidacy in the election.”

While director of the University of Economic and Financial Development and member of the Indonesian Banking Supervision Agency, Muhammad Fadil Hasan, believes that “the impact of the election campaign on the Indonesian economy was in the range of 0.6% in previous years, but it has increased significantly between presidential, central and regional Since parliamentary elections are being held at the same time, it may take a little more time.

Faisal believes that “the group that benefits most from electoral campaigns is the poor group, who form the largest electoral pool in the country, and are hounded by candidates seeking votes. As far as As for the rich class, which constitutes about 20% of the population, they refrain from buying and selling while waiting for the election results.”

This reflected – according to the opinion of a former spokesman for the Indonesian Commerce Ministry – an 18% increase in economic activity in the last third of 2023, compared to about 5.5% in the first half of the year.

Promotion Island - Copy
An economic study showed that the commercial activity of advertising material for ongoing election campaigns in Indonesia amounted to $6 billion (Al Jazeera)

Convergence of opportunities and divergence of programs

Observers expect that the relative convergence between the three candidates' prospects will – in most cases – prevent the presidential race from being decided in the first round, and lead to a second round of elections next June. Some people also fear the impact of the anticipation period on the country's economy. Who will be the next president?

Dr. Faisal comments: “We need to wait for the policies of the winning president, not the election programs, as candidates let their imagination run wild during the election campaign, such as a candidate who visited 40 cities like Jakarta One promises to build 100,000 acres of land, and the other promises to provide free food and milk to the people. Where do they get the budget for these projects?”

Hassan agrees with Faisal that the number of election rounds is not important, despite his expectation that there will be two rounds, “and their number has no impact on the economy. What matters is that the elections be held in a safe and stable environment for the economy.” To maintain stability.”

However, in his interview with Al Jazeera Net, he believes that “the economic programs of the candidates vary greatly, and their impact on the economy in the coming years will be significant, depending on the person elected president.”

He explains his meaning by saying: “One candidate promises to create 19 million job opportunities in the first year, and that's unfair, while another candidate focuses on labor-intensive manufacturing, and the other focuses on an economy that Has aspirations which depend on technology and machines.” And this reduces labor opportunities.”

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