Uncategorized Indonesian disaster raises risks for President Widodo as he eyes re-election

Indonesian disaster raises risks for President Widodo as he eyes re-election

Image result for President Joko Widodo
President Joko Widodo

Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami could raise political risks for President Joko Widodo as he prepares a bid for re-election next year, with opponents keen to find fault in his handling of the disaster in a region with a history sectarian strife.

The official death toll from the Friday’s 7.5 quake and tsunami that struck the west coast of Sulawesi island has surged to 1,407 but there are fears it will rise when the full scale of destruction is determined and the missing are accounted for.

Widodo, a former furniture businessman and the first president to come from outside the political or military establishment, will seek another five-year term in the April 17 election.

A quietly spoken reformer, he has enjoyed strong popularity but faces hostility from conservative nationalist and Islamist forces in the predominantly Muslim country of 260 million people.

Widodo was quick to visit the badly hit city of Palu, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta less than two days after the quake, urging residents to be patient.

He made another visit on Wednesday, underlining the urgency of the rescue effort, as frustration about a lack of food, fuel and equipment mounted. 

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