Binance: Nigeria orders cryptocurrency firm to pay $10bn

An anonymous man using his smartphone.
Image caption,Binance is understood to be one of the most popular cryptocurrency platforms in Nigeria

The Nigerian government says it has demanded almost $10bn (£8bn) in compensation from the cryptocurrency firm, Binance.

It says Binance manipulated foreign exchange rates through currency speculation and rate-fixing, which have seen the naira lose nearly 70% of its value in recent months.

Two Binance executives were arrested in Nigeria earlier in the week.

Binance has not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and also one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency markets.

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso said Binance Nigeria had moved $26bn worth of untraceable funds.

“These allegations are weighty,” Tilewa Adebajo CFG Advisory tells the BBC. “That’s a huge sum – even more than the annual Nigeria diaspora remittances of $24bn”.

“The government must have done their homework, hence the allegations.”

Cryptocurrency transactions equivalent to about 12% of Nigeria’s total income, or GDP, took place in the year to June 2023, according to Reuters news agency.

Cryptocurrencies are not illegal in Nigeria but firms must register in order to operate there, the government says. A special adviser to Nigeria’s president told the BBC that Binance had failed to do this.

After he came into office last year, President Bola Tinubu scrapped the policy of pegging the naira to the dollar, allowing traders to buy and sell the currency at rates determined by the market. But special advisor Bayo Onanuga said the recent collapse was not the result of normal activity.

“All of a sudden the exchange rate went through the roof… and it was being caused by the people on Binance platform,” he told the BBC Newsday programme.

“The government could not just fold its hands and allow this thing to continue.”

Binance is understood to be one of the most popular cryptocurrency platforms in the country.

To the frustration of Nigerian users, Binance and several other cryptocurrency firms have been suspended in the country in recent weeks including Coinbase, Kraken, Forextime, OctaFX, Crypto and FXTM in an attempt to halt the slide of the naira.

As well as the collapse of the naira, the government also says cryptocurrency is used for money-laundering and funding terror.

The “anonymity and privacy inherent in the cryptocurrency system are what draw individuals, particularly those with illicit intentions, towards its use,” said a recent report by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.

Central bank governor Mr Cardoso said on Tuesday that “illicit flows” had been spotted on some cryptocurrency platforms in Nigeria. No specific firms were named as culprits.

In another measure intended to curb foreign-currency trading, Nigeria has closed thousands of bureaux de change.

Nigeria’s central bank has been under pressure to stabilise the national currency, the naira, which currently exchanges at 1,595 naira to US$1, compared to about 460 a year ago.

The collapse of the naira has worsened the cost-of-living crisis. High food and commodity prices – including fuel and transport – have led to protests in recent weeks.

Celeste Manno: Luay Sako jailed for murdering co-worker

23-year old Celeste Manno worked with Luay Sako at a call centre before he was fired in 2019
Image caption,23-year old Celeste Manno worked with Luay Sako at a call centre before he was fired in 2019

A man in Australia who stalked and killed his former co-worker has been sentenced to 36 years in jail.

Luay Sako broke into Celeste Manno’s home in Melbourne in 2020, and stabbed her to death after months of stalking.

Prosecutors said he broke into her home hours after she posted a photo online with her new boyfriend, and stabbed her 23 times in two-and-a-half minutes.

Ms Manno’s family believe Sako should have been jailed for life. Her mother condemned the sentence as “outrageous”.

It is “absolutely unbelievable, that the court decided to grant him mercy even though he showed Celeste none,” Aggie Di Mauro said outside the court shortly after the sentence was handed down.

Ms Di Mauro said she hoped the court of appeal would recognise that “true justice in this case demands a life sentence”.

Thursday’s sentencing in the Supreme Court in Melbourne saw dozens of Ms Manno’s family and friends fill the gallery.

Australian media reported that a blue glowing urn containing her ashes was placed in front of her family as they watched the proceedings, which lasted about 45 minutes.

“Celeste deserved life, but you decided otherwise,” Justice Jane Dixon said, as reported by Australian public broadcaster ABC.

“You carried out the attack with chilling efficiency.”

But there were tears when the judge revealed she would not be handing down a life sentence, the harshest penalty under the state of Victoria’s law.

Celeste Manno, 23, was a team leader at a call centre where Sako, now 39, also worked.

The stalking began in 2019 when he was fired, and he started sending her messages. Despite Ms Manno begging him to stop, Sako’s messages became increasingly desperate and obsessive.

She reported him to police and was able to get an interim restraining order but he was not deterred, and was later charged with breaching the order.

The court heard that Sako cross referenced her social media posts with Google Maps to work out where Ms Manno’s family home was.

On 16 November 2020, a few hours after she posted a photo with her new boyfriend online, he drove to the address and used a hammer to smash her bedroom window.

He fled about two and a half minutes later, having viciously stabbed Ms Manno to death as she was sleeping.

Her body was found by her mother shortly afterwards.

Sako then drove to a police station and blamed law enforcement officers for her murder. He asked them to shoot him.

“You know what happened, it’s your fault,” he said, adding: “She’s dead, she’s dead. Go have a look.”

Judge Dixon said Sako had committed an “appalling crime”.

But she told the court that it did not warrant life imprisonment because he had been diagnosed with an extreme personality disorder. This “caused a significant impairment” of his mental functioning at the time of the offence, the judge said.

Luay Sako will be eligible for parole when he is 65
Image caption,Luay Sako will be eligible for parole when he is 65

Addressing the defendant directly, Ms Dixon said: “Your psychiatric condition at the time of the offending reduces your moral culpability,” adding that she’d been well aware of the “devastating impact” of the crime on Ms Manno’s family and friends.

Judge Dixon said Sako’s prospects for rehabilitation were limited, but could be improved with adequate psychiatric treatment over the lengthy sentence.

Outside the court, Ms Manno’s mother tore up a speech she had prepared to read in front of dozens of journalists, had the judge handed down the life sentence she was hoping for.

“Today’s outcome proves just how flawed the justice system is,” Ms Di Mauro said.

“We were forced to trust the system that we lost faith in three years ago. It failed Celeste then and it failed her again now.”

Luay Sako will be eligible for parole in 2050.

Woolworths: Australian grocery boss quits amid price-gouging claims

Brad Banducci
Image caption,Brad Banducci has been CEO for eight years

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has announced his resignation, amid scrutiny over alleged price-gouging tactics used by the Australian supermarket giant.

The pressure on the chief intensified this week after what has widely been described as a disastrous interview.

Mr Banducci walked out on a reporter after bristling over the line of questioning.

Australia has one of the world’s most concentrated grocery markets.

Woolworths – the nation’s largest retailer – and its rival Coles control 65% of the market, and both have been facing intense criticism over their business models as the country battles a cost-of-living crisis.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Wednesday, Woolworths Group announced Mr Banducci would retire in September.

The 59-year-old has spent 13 years at the company, eight of them at the helm.

“History will judge Brad to have been one of [the firm’s] finest leaders,” board chair Scott Perkins said.

He will be succeeded by the company’s head of e-commerce Amanda Bardwell.

Woolworths Group owns an array of business across Australia and New Zealand, including discount department store Big W, liquor chain BWS, and the New Zealand grocery chain Countdown.

In the ASX statement, the company also announced a massive half year profit of A$929m (£482m; $608m), in part thanks to growing margins on its food businesses.

However, overall the firm recorded a loss of A$781m due to write-downs in the value of two of its businesses.

It comes as the supermarket chain faces multiple parliamentary inquiries and another investigation from the nation’s competition watchdog over pricing practices.

On Monday night, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an investigation which accused both Coles and Woolworths of price-gouging and unfair dealings with suppliers and farmers.

Four Corners reporter Angus Grigg spoke to insiders, experts, and the bosses of both supermarkets, and said Mr Banducci’s reaction was “startling”.

“That was a pretty basic line of questioning… and the fact that he bristled so badly when pushed on whether or not there was adequate competition in Australia tells you they’re not really used to having much scrutiny.”

Post Office scandal victims set to be cleared by new law

People walking past a Post Office branch

Hundreds of people wrongly convicted in the Post Office scandal are set to have their names cleared under new legislation planned by the government.

The law is expected to come into effect by the end of July and will apply to convictions in England and Wales.

It will apply to convictions meeting specific criteria and is expected to clear the majority of victims.

The government said the possible exoneration of some genuinely guilty of crimes was “a price worth paying”.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 900 sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted due to faulty software.

Incorrect information provided by a computer system called Horizon, developed by Japanese firm Fujitsu, meant that sub-postmasters and postmistresses were prosecuted for stealing money.

Many of those convicted went to prison for false accounting and theft. Many were financially ruined.

Some sub-postmasters caught up in the scandal have died or taken their own lives in the intervening years. So far, 102 convictions have been overturned.

Keith Bell
Image caption,Keith Bell, who is now 75, wants his name cleared

Keith Bell had been a sub-postmaster in Stockton-on-Tees since 1985, but like hundreds of others, he started noticing discrepancies in his accounts after Horizon was installed in his branch.

He called Post Office helplines, but was given little support. He spent more than £12,000 of his own money to make up the shortfalls, and eventually delayed some transactions to try to balance the books.

He was convicted of false accounting in 2002 and had to do 200 hours of community service.

He didn’t challenge his conviction at the time, as he didn’t have the means to take on the Post Office, and he believed he had been at fault.

But now the 75-year-old wants his name cleared and expects his conviction to be quashed.

“I’m relieved they are going to quash all the convictions, which is long overdue,” he said in response to the announcement on Thursday. “It’s a relief to be able to talk to friends. It’s a relief to be able to look people in the eye now.”

The issue was thrust back into the spotlight by an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, earlier this year.

Criticism had said that the process for overturning convictions and getting compensation was far too slow.

There are three main schemes aimed at groups of victims who had different experiences of the scandal – but the schemes have been accused of being long-winded and complicated.

Announcing the plans, Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake said the legislation was likely to “exonerate a number of people who were, in fact, guilty of a crime”.

But he said: “The government accepts that this is a price worth paying in order to ensure that many innocent people are exonerated.”

Some 700 people were prosecuted by the Post Office. Another 283 cases were brought by other agencies including the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Prosecutions by the DWP will not be quashed under the new law.

A letter released by the Post Office after Mr Hollinrake’s statement showed that its chief executive, Nick Read, had written to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk last month saying that the company “would be bound to oppose an appeal” in more than half the cases it had prosecuted.

It said that these cases “involve convictions obtained by reliance on evidence unrelated to the Horizon computer system,” and numbered 369, with a further 11 still under review.

The letter was sent on 9 January, shortly before the government first announced plans to use emergency legislation to exonerate all sub-postmasters.

However, the Post Office said the letter was “in no way seeking to persuade government against mass exoneration”.

It said the purpose of the letter was “primarily to offer the government any support that might assist them as they consider relevant issues in advance of passing legislation, without any value judgement on what the correct course of action might be”.

‘Key questions’

Mr Hollinrake said the new legislation would overturn all convictions that met certain criteria. It will only cover:

  • convictions from the Post Office and CPS
  • “relevant offences”, such as theft and false accounting
  • sub-postmasters and their employees or family members
  • cases where the offence took place during the time that the Horizon system (and its pilots) was in operation
  • cases where the convicted person was working in a Post Office that was using the Horizon system software (including relevant pilot schemes)
  • cases in England and Wales

However, the government said it would work with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to ensure their schemes to quash convictions were “compatible with the UK compensation scheme”.

Labour MP Kevan Jones said he welcomed news of the legislation but added it was vital that the government set aside enough time for the new law to be passed “as quickly as possible”.

“There are some initial key questions that need answering, including whether the Post Office’s Capture system counts as a ‘pilot’ of the Horizon system for the purposes of this bill.”

Mr Hollinrake added he recognised the “constitutional sensitivity” of the planned legislation, but added it did not set a precedent for the future relationship between the government, Parliament and the judiciary.

“The scale and circumstances of this prosecutorial misconduct demands an exceptional response,” he said.

“We are keen to ensure that the legislation achieves its goal of bringing prompt justice to all of those who were wrongfully convicted as a result of the scandal, followed by rapid financial redress.”

A spokesperson for DWP confirmed the new law would not apply to prosecutions brought by the department.

Between 2001 and 2006 “a small number” of Post Office staff were convicted for welfare-related fraud offences, mostly involving cashing in stolen benefit order books, they said.

“These criminal cases were not Horizon-related and followed lengthy, complex investigations, relying on multiple sources of evidence, including filmed surveillance, examination of stolen cashed orders and witness statements.

“While reference may have been made to Horizon in court, DWP did not rely on Horizon evidence to prove these cases, and this has been accepted by the Court of Appeal.”

Prabowo-Gibran ‘menang’, mungkinkah Indonesia bernasib sama seperti Filipina?

Hasil hitung cepat Pilpres 2024 menunjukkan keunggulan pasangan Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka.
Keterangan gambar,Setelah hasil hitung cepat Pilpres 2024 menunjukkan keunggulan pasangan Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka, sejumlah pengamat mulai menyoroti kekuatan aliansi ini ke depannya.

Perkawinan dua “dinasti” yang diwakili Prabowo Subianto dan Gibran Rakabuming Raka, mirip dengan penyatuan dua dinasti di Filipina. Di sana, Presiden Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr berkongsi politik dengan Sara Duterte, anak eks presiden Rodrigo Duterte. Sara kemudian menjadi wakilnya. Bagaimana pola seperti ini bisa lentur dan bertahan ketika situasi dan kepentingan politik mulai berubah?

Jawabannya: Tidak menutup kemungkinan koalisi Prabowo-Gibran akan “pecah kongsi”, kata pengamat.

Kerentanan kerja sama politik Prabowo-Jokowi itu, demikian pengamat, mengingatkan “perkawinan dua dinasti” di Filipina, antara Presiden “Bongbong” Marcos dan wakilnya, Sara Duterte, yang kini retak dan di ambang perpecahan.

Situasi politik yang berubah, yakni ketika Jokowi tak lagi berkuasa, akan menjadi batu sandungan koalisi dua dinasti ini nantinya, tambah pengamat.

“Meski praktik selama ini Prabowo menunjukkan loyalitas yang besar dan konsisten pada Jokowi, tapi itu ketika Jokowi berkuasa. Saat Jokowi tidak berkuasa, bisa saja situasinya berubah,” kata dosen pemilu Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia, Titi Anggraini.

Bagaimana kemiripan keduanya?

Sejak lama, sosok Prabowo dan Bongbong memang selalu memicu kontroversi karena rekam jejak keluarga mereka yang terkait dengan kediktatoran.

Mereka mewarisi banyak hal dari kediktatoran itu, mulai dari privilese, jabatan, kekayaan, hingga sifat-sifat otoriter.

Beberapa pengamat menganggap sifat itu tak mudah diubah, sehingga publik harus berhati-hati.

Prabowo merupakan menantu diktator yang memimpin Indonesia selama 32 tahun, Soeharto.

Prabowo Subianto
Keterangan gambar,Prabowo Subianto (kiri) adalah mantan menantu Soeharto, pemimpin rezim Orde Baru.

Sepanjang masa kepemimpinan Soeharto, karier militer Prabowo melejit, tapi kontroversi terus membayanginya.

Di akhir Orde Baru, ia dituduh terlibat dalam penculikan aktivis, yang beberapa di antaranya belum diketahui keberadaannya hingga saat ini.

Sementara itu, Bongbong adalah putra dari diktator yang berkuasa di Filipina selama hampir 21 tahun hingga 1986, Ferdinand Marcos.

Di bawah kepemimpinan Marcos, Bongbong sempat menempati berbagai posisi strategis, termasuk gubernur kawasan Ilocos Norte.

Selama Bongbong berkuasa, terjadi setidaknya dua pembunuhan di luar hukum di daerah Ilocos Norte, sebagaimana dilaporkan.

Bongbong Marcos
Keterangan gambar,Di bawah kepemimpinan Marcos, Bongbong sempat menempati berbagai posisi strategis, termasuk gubernur kawasan Ilocos Norte.

Setelah kejatuhan Soeharto dan Marcos, Prabowo dan Bongbong juga sempat “mengasingkan diri” keluar negeri.

Prabowo “berlindung” di Yordania sekitar 3 tahun, sementara Bongbong berdiam di Amerika Serikat selama 5 tahun.

Sepulangnya ke tanah air masing-masing, mereka kembali terjun ke dunia politik. Selama menduduki jabatan-jabatan dalam pemerintahan, mereka tak pernah sepi kontroversi.

Bongbong beberapa kali dikaitkan dengan kasus korupsi, sementara sikap temperamental dan meledak-ledak Prabowo kerap menjadi sorotan.

Di tengah berbagai kontroversi, mereka sama-sama memendam ambisi duduk di istana kepresidenan. Keduanya sudah kenyang menelan kekalahan.

Prabowo pertama kali membidik kursi istana pada Pemilu 2009 lalu, dengan menjadi cawapres untuk Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Pada Pilpres 2014 dan 2019, Prabowo maju menjadi capres, tapi lagi-lagi kalah dari Jokowi.

Sementara itu, Bongbong pertama kali mencalonkan diri sebagai wakil presiden dalam pemilu 2016. Di Filipina, pemilihan presiden dan wakil presiden dilakukan terpisah.

Kala itu, Bongbong kalah tipis dari cawapres Leni Robredo. Politikus perempuan itulah yang akhirnya menjadi wapres di masa kepresidenan Rodrigo Duterte.

Karena pemilihan presiden dan wakilnya terpisah, wapres di Filipina bisa menjadi oposisi dari presidennya, seperti Robredo terhadap Duterte.

Namun ada kalanya, capres dan cawapres berkampanye bersama sebagai pasangan, walau pemilihannya tetap dilakukan secara terpisah.

Dalam pemilu berikutnya pada 2022, Bongbong memilih untuk menyatukan kekuatan dengan putri Duterte, Sara Duterte, sebagai cawapres.

Layaknya Jokowi di Indonesia, Duterte juga disebut-sebut ingin melanggengkan kekuasaannya dengan mencalonkan Sara sebagai cawapres.

Berkat popularitas Duterte yang juga masih menjulang, Sara pun keluar sebagai pemenang dengan perolehan suara gemilang di angka 61,53 persen.

Suara Bongbong juga disebut-sebut terdongkrak karena popularitas Duterte, walau pada akhirnya raihan suaranya lebih kecil dari Sara, yaitu 58,77 persen.

Bongbong Marcos dan Sara Duterte.
Keterangan gambar,Dalam pemilu berikutnya pada 2022, Bongbong memilih untuk menyatukan kekuatan dengan putri Duterte, Sara Duterte, sebagai cawapres.

Kampanye Bongbong dan Sara yang sangat ramah anak muda, dengan berbagai gimik di media sosial, juga dianggap sebagai salah satu faktor kunci kemenangan mereka.

Kendati demikian, sejumlah pengamat sebenarnya sudah mewanti-wanti bahwa Bongbong masih punya naluri otoriter.

Benar saja, Bongbong mulai menunjukkan jati dirinya. “Bulan madu” perkawinan kedua dinasti itu pun tak bertahan lama.

Di akhir 2023, cekcok Duterte-Bongbong mengemuka dan kian parah hingga koalisi tersebut di ambang perpecahan.

Presiden Ferdinand Marcos Jr dan wakilnya, Sara Duterte, putri eks presiden Rodrigo Duterte.
Keterangan gambar,Presiden Ferdinand ‘Bongbong”‘ Marcos Jr dan wakilnya, Sara Duterte, putri eks presiden Rodrigo Duterte.

Akar masalahnya, Bongbong ingin mengubah konstitusi Filipina yang membuka jalan untuk perpanjangan masa jabatan presiden. Ia berdalih perubahan itu diperlukan agar dapat menarik investor asing demi menggenjot perekonomian.

“[Konstitusi perlu diubah] demi dunia yang terglobalisasi,” kata Bongbong pada Desember 2023, seperti dikutip Reuters.

Sejak saat itu, Duterte dan keluarganya terus melontarkan kritik secara terang-terangan. Mereka menganggap Bongbong berkhianat.

Bongbong dianggap hanya menunggangi popularitas Duterte agar dapat menjadi presiden. Habis manis, sepah dibuang.

Duterte pun mengancam bakal menggulingkan Bongbong.

Apakah perpecahan serupa dapat terjadi pada Prabowo-Gibran?

Sejumlah pihak khawatir kejadian serupa dapat menimpa Jokowi dan Gibran, salah satunya terlihat dalam tulisan.

Pasalnya, beberapa pakar memperingatkan bahwa Prabowo juga tidak pernah berubah walau dalam masa kampanye terakhir, ia mengemas diri dengan citra “gemoy”.

“Dorongannya, nalurinya, adalah menjadi xenofobia, menjadi pemimpin otoriter. Saya khawatir dia tidak berubah. Karakternya tidak berubah,” ucap peneliti Human Rights Watch, Andreas Harsono.

Sejumlah pengamat pun curiga Prabowo hanya memanfaatkan popularitas Jokowi untuk dapat memenuhi ambisinya menjadi presiden, yang sudah tertunda bertahun-tahun.

Ketika sudah berkuasa, Prabowo mungkin saja menganggap Jokowi tak lagi penting, kemudian malah menjalankan agendanya sendiri.

“Dalam masa pemerintahan yang berjalan lima tahun, kemungkinan atau peluang itu bisa saja terjadi, apalagi kalau ada realisasi komitmen yang tidak sesuai kesepakatan mereka,” ujar dosen pemilu Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia, Titi Anggraini, kepada BBC News Indonesia.

Prabowo Subianto dan Gibran Rakabuming Raka.
Keterangan gambar,Ketika sudah berkuasa, Prabowo mungkin saja menganggap Jokowi tak lagi penting, kemudian malah menjalankan agendanya sendiri.

Titi menggarisbawahi bahwa Prabowo juga merupakan ketua umum Partai Gerindra, entitas yang tentu punya kepentingan sendiri.

“Sangat mungkin kepentingan Prabowo atau Gerindra tidak sejalan dengan kepentingan politik Gibran atau Jokowi sebagai pihak yang punya saham bagi kemenangan Prabowo,” tutur Titi.

“Meski praktik selama ini Prabowo menunjukkan loyalitas yang besar dan konsisten pada Jokowi, tapi itu ketika Jokowi berkuasa. Saat Jokowi tidak berkuasa, bisa saja situasinya berubah.”

Senada, Direktur Eksekutif Parameter Politik Indonesia, Adi Prayitno, juga menganggap potensi keretakan tetap ada walau aliansi Prabowo-Jokowi sampai saat ini masih kuat.

“Tinggal tunggu berapa lama bulan madu dua kubu ini bertahan,” ucap Adi kepada BBC News Indonesia.

“Meski harus diakui sampai hari ini keduanya sangat terlihat akur dan harmonis, tapi dalam politik, apa pun bisa terjadi. Jokowi dan PDIP saja bisa pisah jalan setelah 23 tahun bersama.”

Keterangan gambar,Titi Anggraini menggarisbawahi bahwa Prabowo juga merupakan ketua umum Partai Gerindra, entitas yang tentu punya kepentingan sendiri.

Di sisi lain, Peneliti Ahli Utama Pusat Riset Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional (BRIN), Firman Noor, menganggap iklim politik Indonesia dan Filipina berbeda.

“Di sana kan Duterte itu walau bagaimana pun nuansanya masih sosialis. Bongbong Marcos kapitalis, jadi mungkin masih ada sense ideologi kiri dan kanan,” kata Firman kepada BBC News Indonesia.

“Nah, kalau di Indonesia kan tidak ada ideologi seperti itu. Tidak kuat. Bisa bersatu karena kekuasaan, jadi saya kira akan langgeng-langgeng saja ini kelihatannya.”

Firman berkaca pada rekam jejak pemerintahan-pemerintahan sebelumnya yang tetap solid walau ada beberapa sandungan.

“Malah akan bertukar nantinya, akan seperti memberikan tongkat estafet. Sekarang Prabowo dapat tongkat estafet. Nanti dikasih ke Gibran untuk lima tahun berikutnya,” ucapnya.

PKB sebut dapat tambahan 23 kursi DPR RI

PKB sebut dapat tambahan 23 kursi DPR RI
Direktur Pileg DPP PKB Cucun Ahmad Syamsurijal (tengah) berikan keterangan kepada wartawan di Kantor DPP PKB, Jakarta Pusat, Minggu (18/2/2024). ANTARA/Fianda Sjofjan Rassat

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Direktur Pileg DPP Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB) Cucun Ahmad Syamsurijal mengatakan tabulasi suara internal partainya menunjukkan PKB akan mendapatkan kenaikan jumlah suara sehingga bakal terjadi penambahan 23 kursi DPR RI.

“Alhamdulillah dari existing 58 kursi yang sekarang di Senayan ini aman semuanya dan akan ada penambahan dari kenaikan jumlah suara ini menjadi 81 kursi,” kata Cucun di Kantor DPP PKB, Jakarta Pusat, Minggu.

Cucun mengungkapkan berdasarkan tabulasi data nasional internal PKB, perolehan suara PKB untuk DPR RI pada Pileg 2024 naik signifikan dari perolehan suara pada Pileg 2019. Hal itulah yang diterjemahkan menjadi jumlah kursi PKB di Senayan.

“Secara suara, suara PKB naik 6.007.425 atau 2,41 persen, dari 13.570.097 atau 9,69 persen di Pileg 2019 menjadi 19.577.522 suara atau 12,1 persen di Pileg 2024,” ujarnya.

Dijelaskannya, kenaikan 23 kursi PKB terjadi di Jawa Timur dengan 3 kursi (Jatim II, Jatim VIII dan Jatim X), Jawa Barat dengan 5 kursi (Jabar I, Jabar II, Jabar IV, Jabar VI dan Jabar XI), Banten dengan 2 kursi (Banten I dan Banten II).

Kemudian Sumatera dengan 5 kursi (Sumbar I, Sumut I, Sumut III, Riau I, Sumsel I), Kalimantan dengan 2 kursi (Kaltim dan Kalteng), Sulawesi dengan 3 kursi (Sulteng, Sulbar, Sultra), NTB 1 kursi (NTB I), Maluku 1 kursi (Maluku Utara) dan Papua 1 kursi (Papua Selatan).

Cucun juga menyebut kenaikan jumlah suara tersebut berkat cocktail effect majunya Ketua Umum PKB Muhaimin Iskandar sebagai calon wakil presiden mendampingi calon presiden nomor urut 1 Anies Baswedan.

“Dengan majunya beliau juga dampak positif kenaikan suara PKB sangat signifikan. Sahabat-sahabat semua, sebagaimana kita ketahui cocktail effect yang beririsan dengan pilpres kemarin, kami mendapatkan kenaikan suara partai yang signifikan,” tuturnya.

Pemilu 2024 meliputi pemilihan presiden dan wakil presiden, anggota DPR RI, anggota DPD RI, anggota DPRD provinsi, serta anggota DPRD kabupaten/kota dengan daftar pemilih tetap (DPT) tingkat nasional sebanyak 204.807.222 pemilih.

Pemilu 2024 diikuti 18 partai politik nasional yakni (sesuai dengan nomor urut) Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB), Partai Gerindra, PDI Perjuangan, Partai Golkar, Partai Nasdem, Partai Buruh, dan Partai Gelora Indonesia.

Berikutnya, Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), Partai Kebangkitan Nusantara (PKN), Partai Hanura, Partai Garuda, Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN), Partai Bulan Bintang (PBB), Partai Demokrat, Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI), Partai Perindo, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP), dan Partai Ummat.

Selain itu, terdapat enam partai politik lokal sebagai peserta yakni Partai Nanggroe Aceh, Partai Generasi Atjeh Beusaboh Tha’at dan Taqwa, Partai Darul Aceh, Partai Aceh, Partai Adil Sejahtera Aceh, dan Partai Soliditas Independen Rakyat Aceh.

Sedangkan untuk pemilihan presiden dan wakil presiden diikuti tiga pasangan yakni Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar selaku nomor urut 1, Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka nomor urut 2, dan Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md. nomor urut 3.

Seturut Peraturan KPU Nomor 3 Tahun 2022, rekapitulasi suara nasional Pemilu 2024 dijadwalkan berlangsung mulai 15 Februari s.d. 20 Maret 2024.

Guru di Jatim terbitkan buku ulas kiprah ketua DPD RI

Guru di Jatim terbitkan buku ulas kiprah ketua DPD RI
Ketua DPD RI AA LaNyalla Mahmud Mattalitti (kanan) saat menerima buku dari seorang guru Pegawai Pemerintah dengan Perjanjian Kerja (PPPK) di Jawa Timur Yuni Soekarno. ANTARA/HO-Biro Pers LaNyalla

Surabaya (ANTARA) – Seorang guru Pegawai Pemerintah dengan Perjanjian Kerja (PPPK) di Jawa Timur Yuni Soekarno menerbitkan buku berjudul “Merajut Asa Sang Pendidik Bangsa” yang mengulas kiprah Ketua DPD RI, AA LaNyalla Mahmud Mattalitti.  
Penulis buku itu, Yuni di Surabaya, Rabu menceritakan latar belakang untuk mengulas kiprah panjang Ketua DPD RI dalam memperjuangkan nasib ribuan guru di Jawa Timur yang telah lulus passing grade hingga diangkat menjadi PPPK.

Dalam buku setebal 80 halaman tersebut, salah satunya bercerita tentang bagaimana perjuangan GLPG P1 Jawa Timur memperjuangkan nasib mereka. Termasuk di dalamnya juga mengulas peran penting Ketua DPD RI yang sejak tahun 2021 membantu perjuangan mereka hingga segera mendapatkan SK PPPK.

“Kami di GLPG P1 Jawa Timur tahu betul bagaimana kiprah Pak LaNyalla dalam memperjuangkan nasib kami. Ketua DPD RI lah yang pada akhirnya memperjuangkan nasib kami dengan sungguh-sungguh hingga akhirnya kami diangkat menjadi PPPK,” kata Yuni.  

Yuni mengatakan, ingat betul, perjuangannya dimulai ketika tahun 2021 terdapat guru lulus passing grade, namun belum mendapatkan kuota formasi PPPK.

“Kami kemudian mengadu kepada Pak LaNyalla sebagai Ketua DPD RI yang secara khusus menerima audiensi kami di Jakarta. Beliau berkomitmen memperjuangkan aspirasi kami dan meminta datanya,” tutur Yuni.

Yuni menilai Ketua DPD RI langsung gerak cepat menemui Gubernur Jawa Timur, Khofifah Indar Parawansa untuk memperjuangkan aspirasi GLPG P1 Jawa Timur.

“Kami tahu persis bagaimana Pak LaNyalla merespons dengan cepat dan segera bertemu Ibu Gubernur Jatim untuk memperjuangkan nasib kami. Berkat perjuangan beliau, kami telah diangkat menjadi ASN sebagai PPPK,” tutur Yuni.

Ketua GLPG P1 Jawa Timur, Naphan Fathoni Aziz menjelaskan, saat ini ribuan guru di Jatim tinggal menunggu SK PPPK dan NIK.

“Tanggal 1 Maret 2024 ini, SK dan NIK kita keluar. Tentu kami ucapkan terima kasih yang sebesar-besarnya kepada Pak LaNyalla atas perjuangannya selama ini,” tutur Fathoni.

Dia menambahkan, ada 5.464 guru yang sudah mendapat formasi dan pengajuan berkas di BKN. Fathoni menjelaskan awal mula perjuangannya mendapatkan status PPPK.

“Awalnya adalah forum guru yang sudah lulus passing grade tahun 2021. Rupanya, mengawal regulasi itu tidak mudah. Hingga akhirnya kami meminta bantuan kepada Pak LaNyalla untuk memperjuangkan nasib kami,” tutur dia.

“Pak LaNyalla ini kami panggil Abah. Beliau ini adalah tokoh yang mengawal sampai tuntas perjuangan GLPG P1 Jawa Timur. Beliau adalah tokoh inspirator dan mentor kami, hingga akhirnya kami disahkan menjadi PPPK,” tambah Fathoni.

Ketua DPD RI mengaku bersyukur langkahnya dalam memperjuangkan aspirasi guru yang tergabung dalam GLPG P1 Jawa Timur membuahkan hasil. Dikatakannya, sejak awal terpilih sebagai Ketua DPD RI, ia telah berkomitmen berjuang merealisasikan aspirasi rakyat, khususnya masyarakat di Jawa Timur.

“Mari kita syukuri pencapaian ini dan jaga amanah ini. Mari kita bekerja secara sungguh-sungguh untuk mencerdaskan kehidupan berbangsa dan bernegara. Tanggung jawab kita bersama untuk membangun generasi bangsa yang hebat,” tutur LaNyalla.

Senator asal Jawa Timur itu terus berkomitmen dalam memperjuangkan seluruh aspirasi masyarakat yang masuk ke meja kerjanya. Menurutnya, amanah yang diberikan masyarakat kepadanya merupakan kewajiban kerja yang harus dituntaskan.

“Saya terikat sumpah dan jabatan bahwa saya akan bekerja sungguh-sungguh untuk kepentingan bangsa dan negara. Jadi, saya terus berikhtiar agar segala hal yang saya lakukan memiliki nilai positif kepada masyarakat,” kata LaNyalla.

KGB spy who rubbed shoulders with French elite for decades

KGB spy Philippe Grumbach in a black-and-white 1985 photo
Image caption,For decades, KGB spy Philippe Grumbach rubbed shoulders with countless political figures and celebrities

Major French magazine L’Express has revealed that its prominent former editor, Philippe Grumbach, spied for the Soviet Union for 35 years.

Grumbach was an exceptionally well plugged-in figure in French society for decades.

He counted presidents, actors and literary giants as close friends. He was a legendary figure in journalism who shaped the editorial direction of one of France’s most successful publications. When he died in 2003, Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon said Grumbach had been “one of the most memorable and respected figures in French media”.

But he was also “Brok”, a spy for Russia’s KGB intelligence agency.

Extensive proof of Grumbach’s duplicitous life can be found in the so-called Mitrokhin archives – named after the Soviet major who smuggled thousands of pages of documents out of Soviet archives and handed them to Britain in 1992. They were later compiled into a book by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin himself.

Among the thousands of pages of documents are profiles outlining the characteristics of Westerners who spied for the Soviet Union.

Several months ago, a friend of Etienne Girard, the social affairs editor at L’Express and the co-author of the Grumbach exposé, informed him that an acquaintance who was researching the Mitrokhin files had come across mentions of L’Express. The documents said that an agent with the code-name of Brok worked for the KGB – and spelled out biographical details that matched Grumbach’s.

Mr Girard’s interest was piqued immediately.

“I started to dig into it and found Grumbach’s name written in Russian, and some photos,” Mr Girard told the BBC. “And then things got much more serious. I got in touch with the French secret service to confirm that Brok was indeed Grumbach – and things snowballed from there.”

Born in Paris in 1924 into a Jewish family, Grumbach fled France with his mother and siblings in 1940 – the year Nazi Germany invaded and Marshal Philippe Pétain took power in Vichy with a collaborationist regime. Grumbach joined the US army almost immediately and fought alongside the resistance in Algeria in 1943. After the war, he joined the AFP news agency – but resigned soon after in protest at the French government’s actions in the war in Indochina.

Philippe Grumbach as a young journalist
Image caption,Philippe Grumbach as a young journalist

In 1954, Grumbach was hired to work at L’Express by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, its founder.

From then onwards, Grumbach began rubbing shoulders with some of France’s most prominent figures of the 20th Century.

He helped rehabilitate the then-senator – and future president – Francois Mitterand’s reputation when he was accused of staging a fake assassination in 1960. He was close to the powerful Servan-Schreiber, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and prominent statesman Pierre Mendès France, among others. Actors Alain Delon and Isabelle Adjani were guests at his 1980 wedding, where writer Francoise Sagan and Pierre Berge, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, were the legal witnesses.

And Grumbach was a spy throughout.

Some may view his decision to spy for the Soviet Union as a romantic tale of loyalty to a doomed regime. But Mitrokhin himself speculated that while it was probably ideology that initially attracted Grumbach to the KGB, after only a few years his reasons for staying on as a spy had less to do with wishing to advance the cause of communism in Europe, and more with his desire to make enough money to buy a flat in Paris.

The financial incentives were certainly appealing. According to the Mitrokhin files, between 1976 and 1978 alone Grumbach was awarded the equivalent of today’s €250,000 (£214,000) for his services to the KGB. On three other occasions in the 1970s, he received an extra bonus for being one of the top 13 Soviet spies in France.

Yet it is unclear what missions he carried out exactly. The Mitrokhin files show that during the 1974 presidential election the KGB gave him fabricated files which were meant to create tensions between right-wing presidential candidates. Although L’Express quotes documents as saying that Grumbach was entrusted with the mission of “settling delicate issues” and “liaising with representatives and leaders of political parties, and groups”, there are few other concrete examples of Grumbach actively helping the USSR.

Maybe that is the reason why, in the early 1980s, the KGB severed ties with him. According to the Mitrokhin files book, KGB agents in Paris deemed Grumbach “insincere” and felt he exaggerated his abilities to gather information and the value of his intelligence. He was let go in 1981.

We will never know whether Grumbach was relieved that his double life was no more, or how he felt about his years of service to the KGB.

Whether because of shame or a lingering sense of loyalty, he rebuffed the only known attempt in 2000 by a journalist, Thierry Wolton, to find out more about his years as a spy. Grumbach initially appeared to obliquely admit to his past, but later rowed back, threatening to sue Wolton if he went ahead with the tell-all book he was planning.

Wolton dropped the project, but it seems the incident sparked in Grumbach a desire to talk about his experience.

His widow Nicole recently told L’Express that, soon after the Wolton visit, her late husband told her the truth. “He explained to me that he had worked for the KGB before we got married,” she told the magazine. She said he mentioned having been “revolted” by the racism he witnessed in Texas while he was in the US army, and implied this led him to seek a collaboration with the USSR instead. “He immediately added that he wanted to stop almost right away, but that he had been threatened,” Nicole told L’Express.

Mr Girard says he had no problem unearthing the truth about its former editor-in-chief.

“I definitely had the sense that I was doing my job. It’s up to us to do the investigation, because it concerns us – even if it means unearthing uncomfortable truths,” he said.

Writing the piece took three months, but it has paid off. Almost every media outlet in France has picked up the story – possibly because many still remember Grumbach as a towering figure who dominated the French media landscape for decades.

Some may be tempted to dust off their old copies of L’Express from the Grumbach years in search of subliminal pro-Soviet messaging. But they’re unlikely to find anything. In the 1950s, under Grumbach’s first stint as an editor-in-chief, L’Express leaned left without ever endorsing communism; in the 1970s, when Grumbach was again at the helm, L’Express moved to a resolutely moderate, liberal, centrist space.

As the report in L’Express points out, Grumbach’s work as a spy was never to spread propaganda.

“He was careful to keep his work as a spy separate from his work as magazine editor,” Mr Girard said. “But this is precisely why it all worked. The KGB wanted him to hold on to his cover of a centrist bourgeois to keep flying under the radar.”

“It was fully in the spirit of the KGB. It was a smart move. And it worked.”

War-weary Ukrainians endure as Russia’s invasion drags on

A woman cries at a cemetery in Lviv
Image caption,Lviv’s cemeteries are now filled with the graves of those killed in Russia’s full-scale invasion

Nearly two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fergal Keane returns to the Lviv station where in February and March 2022 he witnessed the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.

In the stories of two individuals he examines how the war – now dragging into its third year – has affected the people of Ukraine.

We heard the screams from far away. They came floating across the rows of the dead, over other graves still waiting to be filled, and over the rows of flags to commemorate the fallen, that flapped in the icy wind.

The military cemetery of the Field of Mars in Lviv is usually a place of whispered prayers and stifled sobs.

But on this winter morning the sound was a full-throated rage.

He was about 100 yards away, a middle-aged man in military camouflage, walking between the lines of graves. He stopped and raised his hands to the sky and shouted out: “Death to the enemy.”

He walked on and after a few steps began to scream again. No words. Just an agonised howl that gradually faded as he moved away.

Nearby, a mother and daughter were settling flowers around the grave of a young man, a son, a brother. They had heard the commotion but continued with their work as if, two years and thousands of deaths into the war, it was all part of the normal order of things.

There are war funerals most days in Lviv. The coffins are brought first to Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church where I witnessed the first funerals of the Russian invasion back in February 2022. Then, the war felt dramatically like a fight for national survival.

The city of Lviv was the setting for the greatest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.

Refugees at Lviv train station
Image caption,Millions of Ukrainians fled west after Russia launched its invasion in February 2022

More than ten million Ukrainians had been uprooted from their homes and Lviv station teemed with refugees fleeing west. Stories of atrocities from places like Bucha and Mariupol arrived with every refugee train.

The drama captured the attention of the world. People fought to get on trains. The elderly and the sick were carried in wheelchairs up the crowded steps to the platforms.

There was the constant noise of children crying, voices on the station tannoy, the whistles of trains arriving and departing, and always the air raid sirens to remind people that death could come at any time.

To return is to find a station that has accustomed itself to war. On platform five the refugee crowds are long gone.

So too the army of volunteer medics and stewards, cooks and musicians, whose kindness helped ease the terror felt by so many.

Now there are young men and women waiting in the cold and shadows for trains to take them east to fight. And there are families returning from abroad for brief visits to loved ones still living in Ukraine.

Two years on, the war has settled on Lviv station, a stubborn season that will not move. There is weariness. And everywhere, stories of what’s been lost.

Take the story of Natasha Ambarova. She was a doctor who ran an emergency clinic at the station.

Natasha Ambarova and child
Image caption,Natasha – of Russian origin – now wants to sign up to fight for Ukraine

We met at the height of the refugee crisis, when she was directing a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers, constantly on the move down the long, crowded corridors to wherever help was needed.

Through all of this she was dealing with a family crisis: Natasha is of Russian origin and her siblings in Moscow supported Putin’s war. Natasha has lost all contact with her Russian family.

“These people are lost for me. They will never say no and will remain silent like slaves.”

Natasha is teaching medicine at Lviv University, aware that her students might be drafted to fight. Several staff from the university have been killed.

Her own feelings towards Russia have hardened. She describes the air raids on the city, and how her children were woken by a door being blown off its hinges by an explosion.

Now this doctor, this mother of a 11-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, wants to fight. The healer of bodies would like to be a sniper.

“I love shooting from different weapons. I would be a good sniper,” she says.

When I ask how someone whose mission it is to heal felt about being prepared to kill, she replies: “It’s my war… I will kill anyone so my children will be safe. This is a matter of survival. I am fighting for my land.”

The war is impacting the psyche of Ukrainians in many different ways. After so much suffering, trauma is everywhere and expresses itself in different ways.

But it has not erased the spirit of kindness that was so evident two years ago.

In a carriage heading towards Kyiv, I meet a short, stocky man with an engaging smile.

Volodymyr Moisei is one-armed, the consequence of a car accident several years ago, and so his military role is that of a chaplain. But he is also a bringer of gifts, delivering presents and treats to children living in front-line areas.

Volodymyr Moisei
Image caption,Volodymyr is now a chaplain, who brings presents to children near Ukraine’s front lines

Since before Russia’s full-scale invasion, he and his wife have fostered troubled children – those from broken families, and now those displaced by the war.

When the war began, one of his former foster children, Andriy, wanted to go back to his home village to care for his mother, an alcoholic with whom he’d had a troubled relationship.

Volodymyr shows me a black-and-white photograph taken by Andriy at a family dinner before the war. Chechen forces under the command of top Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov had taken over the village.

“[Although an alcoholic] she was still his mother. And he went and created a small militia in this village in order to stop the Chechens, Kadyrov’s people who began entering there. And unfortunately they found out after some time. They shot him and they threw him dead in a field,” he says.

Image caption,Andriy was killed by Russians at the age of just 25

On this journey Volodymyr is heading 816km south to Kryvyi Rih, and from there another three hours by road with his friend Oleksandr to Kherson, a city re-taken from the Russians in November 2022. Together they will distribute gifts in front-line villages.

Accompanied by a BBC cameraman, they stop at a windswept bus stop in the countryside, where a group of around 20 mothers and children has gathered.

There is danger from Russian shelling. The war can come crashing down at any time.

Yet people cling to their homes. If you leave, when do you return? Do you ever return?

One of the mothers, Larysa Shkliar, organises the meetings with Volodymyr and Oleksandr. She adamantly refuses to leave or to send her children away.

“Someone made a law, that we must evacuate the children, as our village is in red zone,” Larysa says. “But when I ask them, ‘Are you going to be responsible for my children, if I do it?’ They say no.

“I did not evacuate mine. I am their mother, and responsible for them. When Oleksandr and Volodymyr come it’s like a celebration for us and the kids.”

A girl of around 10 years of age, Lera Verizon, comes forward. Volodymyr hands her a parcel. She starts to explain what happened when the Russians attacked her school.

“There were three air strikes at us. We didn’t know what to do. I was scared. The window was blown out in the room where my sister was.”

As she says the last words Lera begins to cry. She turns into the embrace of her mother Ola who strokes her head. “There bunny, there. It will be OK,” she says.

Volodymyr must leave. There are other villages to reach before nightfall and much work still to do.

“You know, I have stopped trying to understand this war long ago. It takes away the whole life and even takes away the purpose of it, so it takes away the most important time that a child can experience,” Volodymyr says.

As the war lurches into its third year this gentle chaplain tries to create some normality for children, a place “where they can dream again.”

Joko Widodo: From promising democrat to Indonesia’s kingmaker

Indonesian President Joko Widodo waves to the crowd while on his journey to Presidential Palace by carriage during the ceremonial parade on 20 October 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Image caption,Mr Widodo’s approval ratings remain high even as Indonesia’s democracy index has fallen

Many had said it was Joko Widodo’s “man of the people” image that helped score his first presidential victory in July 2014.

The former furniture salesman was Indonesia’s first leader from outside the political and military elite. His decisive win was propelled by people’s frustrations with corruption and nepotism in the country’s young democracy, which is also the world’s third largest.

When he was first became president, Time magazine hailed him as “the new face of Indonesian democracy”.

He’s now 62 and his decade in power has seen Indonesia’s GDP grow by a cumulative 43%, with the country also seeing a boost in infrastructure.

And even as he is about to step down at the end of his second and final term he remains hugely popular, enjoying consistently high approval ratings of more than 70% – turning from a once fresh-faced figure to a powerful kingmaker.

But the enviable legacy he is leaving behind has been somewhat marred by a perceived attempt to build a political dynasty through his eldest son.

Rise to power

Mr Widodo – known as Jokowi – was born in 1961 in the city of Solo to a family of wood sellers, who lived in a riverside shack until they were evicted by the local government.

He first entered politics with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in 2005 when he was elected mayor of Solo, a city in central Java.

In 2012, he was elected the governor of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta with a resounding victory. He grew in popularity as a grassroots leader who was able to empathise with the poor.

Barely two years later, Mr Widodo was elected president. He made anti-corruption the mantra in his campaign and championed meritocracy.

Indonesia’s reformer president turns pragmatist

In a country marred by dynastic politics and corruption, many Indonesians saw him as a revolutionary.

“In 2014, there was a slogan, ‘Jokowi is one of us’. He was not a typical Indonesian politician,” said political analyst Firman Noor from Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency.

“Everybody had high hopes for a better democracy.”

Mr Widodo’s administration had a somewhat shaky start, rushing into some policies only to backtrack on them later.

Over the years, he built a strong track record on economic growth and infrastructure development. His infrastructure push produced 16 new airports, 18 new ports, 36 dams and more than 2,000km (1,240 miles) of toll roads. Indonesia is expected to overtake Russia and the UK to become the world’s sixth largest economy by 2027, according to IMF forecasts.

Mr Widodo is credited with achieving all this while remaining close to the ground. One of his political trademarks, known in Indonesian as “blusukan”, involved impromptu visits to connect with the people and listen to their needs and grievances.

A controversial decision

But this one-of-us image lost some of its sheen.

Mr Widodo revived the death penalty for drug traffickers shortly after entering office. Fourteen people were executed within six months of his election amid international outcry.

For his re-election bid in 2019, Mr Widodo again raised eyebrows by picking Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo gives money and food packages to poor people during Eid al Fitr celebration in Surakarta,
Image caption,Mr Widodo’s political career was built on his “man of the people” image

His second stint in office saw him appointing controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto as defence minister. Mr Prabowo, who was Mr Widodo’s bitter opponent in the past two elections, has faced allegations of human rights abuses. Rights groups said the appointment marked a “dark day” for the country.

Mr Prabowo is now the frontrunner for Wednesday’s elections. His running mate is none other than Mr Widodo’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

Mr Widodo has not openly endorsed any candidate, but has appeared at Mr Prabowo’s campaign events. Analysts said this has widened tensions between Mr Widodo and his own party. The PDI-P’s candidate Ganjar Pranowo was previously seen as Mr Widodo’s shoo-in successor.

More recently, critics have accused Mr Widodo of bending rules to build his political dynasty – an irony for someone who once declared that “becoming a president does not mean channelling power to my children”.

The constitutional court, where Mr Widodo’s brother-in-law serves as chief justice, controversially cleared the way for 36-year-old Mr Gibran to run for vice-president – Indonesian law had initially required presidential and vice-presidential candidates to be at least 40.

Critics believe Mr Gibran, if elected, would simply serve as a proxy for his father.

A campaign poster of presidential candidate and Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and vice presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, son of President Joko Widodo
Image caption,Critics believe Mr Gibran, if elected as vice-president, would simply serve as a proxy for his father

The president had earlier rubbished allegations that he was seeking to build a dynasty, telling the BBC in 2020: “If I directly appointed my family, or my son, as a minister, that’s a political dynasty. But if they participate in elections, it’s the people who decide. Not Jokowi.”

Foreign policy track record

Mr Widodo will also be remembered for his work to assert Indonesia’s presence on the global stage, despite early criticism that he had little experience in foreign policy.

It was on Indonesian soil that US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met for the first time as leaders of their countries – during the G20 summit in Bali in November 2022.

Indonesia was the first country in Asean (the Association of South East Asian Nations) to assume the G20 presidency.

During its tenure, Mr Widodo also offered to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine. His visits to both countries in June 2022 was the first by an Asian leader since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.

Those efforts made little headway, but he managed to push the G20 member states to adopt a joint declaration condemning the invasion – a feat for someone who has maintained throughout his tenure that diplomacy is not his forte.

This was also an opportunity for Mr Widodo to show Indonesians that he was trying to tackle the country’s food crisis at its source. Indonesia is dependent on Ukraine for wheat and Russia for fertiliser.

Closer to home, Mr Widodo had sought to use Asean to push for peace amid Myanmar’s bloody civil war, although that too has achieved little so far.

The Whoosh high-speed train
Image caption,One of Mr Widodo’s legacy infrastructure projects is a Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train named ‘Whoosh’

Indonesia’s wealth of natural resources makes it valuable to global powers. Late last year, it strengthened ties with the US after Mr Widodo visited President Biden in the White House, despite the countries’ differing views on the war in Gaza.

Indonesia has also cultivated closer ties with China under Mr Widodo’s leadership. Large Chinese investments have created jobs and diversified Indonesia’s economy.

However an influx of Chinese money and workers – Beijing pledged $21.7bn in new investments last September to strengthen economic and political ties – have also stirred discontent among Indonesians. Many worry that their country will be caught in a debt trap.

Mr Widodo’s legacy may be tainted by his perceived failure to entrench the democratic values he first campaigned for, but his administration has strengthened Indonesian’s economy and its international profile.

Based on his current approval ratings, he will be stepping down as Indonesia’s most popular president.