There are 38 political parties contesting these elections at the national and local levels (44 parties if you are in Aceh). To confuse matters, the total number of candidates contesting the elections at the national and local levels is estimated to be 800,000 - even the national elections commission (KPU) is so confused that it could not give an exact figure.
Most Indonesians will have four ballot papers to cast, although Jakartans will have (only) three.
As an example, in the South/Central Jakarta voting district, seven seats are up for grabs and 38 political parties are fielding 164 candidates, all vying for one single vote to represent citizens in the national legislature (DPR). There is another ballot paper for the more than 40 candidates hoping to become one of four DPD (Regional) representatives from Jakarta, and another paper for the representative to the DPRD Jakarta (City Hall).
For the first time, electors get to vote for individual candidates. Those who get the most votes, assuming the political party they represent achieve 2.5% of the overall vote nationally, will be deemed elected. This is somewhat better than voting for parties who used to reserve jobs for the boys - and occasional girl. Except, few know who the candidates are.
The plethora of stickers, banners and hoardings have been of little help. The eyesore on our streets has been a sensory overload and I'm further bemused by one or two candidates who stare at us from hoardings which dwarf office towers. In the case of former army chief Wiranto, while the scars of the mass rapes committed by his forces in May '98 remain, one could suggest that asking residents of Chinese-Indonesian areas to vote for his party is barefaced effrontery. Or intimidation.
There are other candidates who I certainly wouldn't vote for based on corruption allegations or their perceived roles in human rights abuses, but perhaps the biggest drawback in this election is that there is a new voting system - ticks are expected instead of the previous coblos, holes stabbed in the paper.
'Er Indoors says that with these changes, plus the fact that apart from vague statements about pluralism or the maintaining of certain religious values no-one actually knows what the parties' policies would be if they gain sufficient seats to actually have legislative power, neneks would effectively be disenfranchised. When I pointed out that she too is a nenek (grannie), she said that she'll have no problem. She has simplified her choice to those candidates from North Sumatra, her homeland.
Thus, my post title is apt.
Pin The Tail On The Donkey is an easy game to play. 1. Draw or purchase a large image of a donkey without a tail. 2. Mount the donkey image on a vertical surface, such as a wall. 3. Blindfold one player. 4. Spin the blindfolded player in circles for a few seconds until they get a bit dizzy and lose their sense of direction. 5. Have the blindfolded player try to pin their donkey tail on the end of the donkey, trying to remember where the donkey was hanging. When they place the tail, remove their blindfold. 6. Allow the second player to take a turn. Leave all the donkey tails wherever they had been placed, until all players have had a chance. 7. Determine the winner. The winner is the player who placed their tail closest to the correct spot on the donkey (often marked with a target or "x").
My Websters provides this colloquial definition of a donkey: a person regarded as stupid, foolish or obstinate.