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Rumours of Prabowo's remarriage fizzle out

AT THE HUSTINGS: The former wife of Mr Prabowo, Ms Siti Hediati, urging a crowd during campaigning to vote for candidate "No. 1", which is the electoral ballot number assigned to Mr Prabowo.


    Jul 07, 2014

    Rumours of Prabowo's remarriage fizzle out


    THE hopes of supporters of Gerindra Party presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto to witness the candidate, 62, reunite with former wife Siti Hediati "Titiek" Suharto, 55, were dashed on Saturday, with no confirmation available that a ceremony had taken place to retie the knot.

    Speculation had been mounting for days that the former couple would remarry, especially after the two publicly appeared together during recent presidential debates and on the campaign trail.

    The pair married in 1983, when Mr Prabowo was a rising military star who later became one of former president Suharto's most trusted generals. But they broke up 15 years later, soon after Mr Suharto's downfall.

    Text messages circulated saying: "The marriage procession between Prabowo and Titiek Suharto at Istiqlal Mosque will air live on tvOne and RCTI."

    Prabowo Media Centre coordinator Budi Purnomo Karjodihardjo said that he had not received any official information about the ceremony, let alone plans to televise the event nationally.

    While the Prabowo-Hatta camp was busy responding to rumours about family matters, Indonesian Democratic Party - Struggle presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo received the rock-star treatment as he took the stage at Bung Karno Stadium in Central Jakarta.

    Mr Joko's appearance marked his last outdoor campaign event yesterday, as the country officially entered the cooling-off period.

    In his speech to a full-capacity stadium, he expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support and called on his supporters to guard against possible violations and vote-rigging on election day.

    "I have never been this proud before and I am very proud of all of you who have worked so hard to make changes in Indonesia. You are all making history," he said.

    Mr Joko, 53, called on his supporters, particularly the younger generation, to play an active role in Wednesday's poll.

    "The younger generation will determine the future of this country. We are one step closer now," he said.

    Prior to his speech, some of the biggest names in the country's music scene delivered rousing performances.

    On Saturday, the candidates and their running mates clashed in the last of five televised debates, which focused on food, energy and the environment.

    Mr Joko and his running mate, former vice-president Jusuf Kalla, appeared more energetic and commentators said they outclassed Mr Prabowo and his deputy, Hatta Rajasa, with several well-judged attacks.

    In their closing statements, Mr Joko pledged to "bring change, breakthrough" to Indonesia, while Mr Prabowo vowed to "prioritise welfare and sovereignty".

    "Jokowi and Kalla looked better," said Tobias Basuki, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Jakarta-based think-tank, adding that the other pair "seemed to have lost their composure".

    Mr Joko is fighting to hold on to a poll lead of a few percentage points, down from a huge margin several months ago, and pollsters say the race is now too close to call.

    Though analysts believe Mr Prabowo has won over many voters because of strong campaign appearances, they say smears against Mr Joko have also helped.

    Mr Prabowo has extended his lead due to a slick, well-funded campaign, a contrast with Mr Joko's often disorganised effort.