Indonesia Starts Off 2019 with First Presidential Debate Between Jokowi and Prabowo

JAKARTA, PINUS PRESS - Indonesian incumbent President Joko Widodo, commonly called by the name Jokowi, faced off the retired Indonesian General Prabowo Sugianto in a live debate on Thursday, 17th January 2019. Accompanying Jokowi as a running mate is Ma’ruf Amin, an important Islamic figure and former leader of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). On the other hand, Sandiaga Uno, a businessman and former vice governor of Jakarta, is running with Prabowo. Jokowi is backed up by the Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (PDI-P), while Prabowo is running with the backing of his own party, Gerindra, and other parties, including former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party. The debate was witnessed by tens of millions on live broadcast on 18 television and radio stations, along with live stream shows.

The debate touched on different topics, though an emphasis is placed on corruption and law. Prabowo advocated for higher investments in different areas, such as education and health, while increasing pay rates for civil servants. To accomplish this, he wanted to increase tax from 10 percent to up to 16 percent. Jokowi, on the other hand, tried to show the effectiveness of his current government, including how he has streamed the bureaucracy to ease the set up a new business. Jokowi also attacked Prabowo’s party for a multitude of reasons.

As the debate unfolded, polls were conducted by different pollsters. Around 47.7 to 54.9 percent of the voters were predicted to vote for the Jokowi-Ma’ruf pair, while the Prabowo-Sandiaga pair would get between 30.6 to 35.5 percent of the votes. The rest of 10.6 to 16.8 percent were undecided voters which both factions are trying to sway.

This debate is the first in a series of debates that precedes the upcoming presidential election of 17th of April. The election will decide who will lead the fourth most populated country with the highest Muslim population.

Writer: Peter Sidajaya