Presidential elections in Indonesia. What difficulties might tourists face?

The Australian government has issued a warning to its citizens in or planning to travel to Indonesia this week, urging them to exercise a high degree of caution due to security risks and anticipate transportation issues. The reason behind this caution is the upcoming presidential elections in the country scheduled for Wednesday, February 14. Tourists are especially advised to be cautious in locations such as Bali, Lombok, and Jakarta.
Photo: 123RF
"Frequent political rallies and protests are likely to occur in the lead-up to the elections," predicts the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Tourists are therefore asked to avoid protests and demonstrations and stay updated on the latest news from local media. This is primarily because events gathering large groups of people can be unsafe.
The statement also clarified that protests often start spontaneously without warning. This frequently happens near major government buildings and embassies in Jakarta or consulates in Surabaya, Bali, and Makassar, as well as near government buildings or offices of international organizations.
While predicting protests and rallies is challenging, one aspect travelers will undoubtedly face is traffic. Issues with transportation are expected, so be prepared to adjust plans for a romantic getaway on February 14.
Indonesian citizens can vote for the president at their place of residence, such as in Bali. However, many voters choose to return to their hometowns on Election Day, which is also a public holiday. This is why a sharp increase in passengers is expected at Gilimanuk Port, mainly residents of Banyuwangi working on Bali."
However, this situation is not unique. The port regularly faces such an influx of passengers before major holidays. Local workers and police assure that they are ready to ensure safety, although it is unlikely to prevent possible delays or queues.
In any case, Balinese leaders recognize that the island's economy depends significantly on tourism. Therefore, their goal is to make the election period pass as quietly and inconspicuously as possible for travelers. Chief of the Bali Police Operational Bureau, Kombes Soelistyono, stated that security is not only ensured at each polling station but also beyond, ensuring tourists' comfort while traveling on Election Day, February 14.
"Do not allow any small sparks to grow. The point is that Bali is safe, and we need to keep it that way. Moreover, Bali is a tourist zone," said Soelistyono.
Despite this, it's advisable to ensure that your travel insurance covers all medical expenses, including emergency assistance and evacuation. However, this precaution is relevant not only on Election Day but also on other days.
Anies Baswedan, Ganjar Pranowo, and Prabowo Subianto are candidates for the next president of Indonesia. Pranowo is currently the favorite for victory in the Bali province.
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