Awaiting fair duel in Indonesia`s presidential debate

The first presidential candidate debate on January 17, 2019. ANTARA FOTO/Sigid Kurniawan/foc.

BOGOR, Jan 27, 2019, ANTARA News. The first round of the Indonesian presidential and vice presidential candidates` official debate took place in Jakarta on Jan 17, but the two pairs were unable to showcase their best performances, reported the ANTARA News.

In the aftermath of the two pairs` performance in their first debate, several political analysts and community members criticized The General Election Commission (KPU) over the furnished list of questions, though it was aimed at ensuring a better quality debate.

The failure to show a convincing performance in the two pairs` first appearance may partly be contributed to the strict technical rules of the debate.

This situation might have made the two pairs unable to express their insightful views and perspectives more freely within the sufficient time provided.

The KPU decision to provide the Joko Widodo (Jokowi)-Ma`ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pairs with a list of questions prior to the convening of the first round of the debate has also contributed to it.

Commenting on the debate, political analyst Rocky Gerung opined that it was not a political debate. Instead of being like a duel or sharp clash of arguments between the two pairs, it was “a way of memorizing questions and a way of predicting the answers.”

Speaking at the CNN Indonesia`s talk show program for commenting on the first round of the presidential debate, Gerung stated that watching the political debate was not like seeing a piano orchestra.

Instead, watching the political debate was like seeing a jazz performance during which there should be improvisation. Perhaps, there was a pause, but it was then closed with new tone, he noted.

In avoiding the recurrence of the first round`s experience, outspoken Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR) Fahri Hamzah suggested that the two pairs should engage in a free and open debate.

“Let our presidential candidates have a `free fight`…!!” Hamzah said on his Twitter account.

In response to the community members` expectation that the second round of the presidential debate should be more attractive, substantial, and full of open clash of arguments, the KPU has pledged not to give the pairs the list of questions in advance.

The national campaign team of the Jokowi- Amin pair has hinted at the readiness of the incumbent president and his running mate to face their contenders in an open presidential debate scheduled on Feb 17.

The team`s secretary, Hasto Kristiyanto, stated that his camp will not file an objection if the KPU decided not to provide the two pairs with a list of questions in advance.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of his visit to the East Java city of Pasuruan on Saturday, Kristiyanto defended the Jokowi-Amin pair, saying that they had been accustomed to speaking about the people`s problems.

“Mr Jokowi and Amin are the figures who do not face any difficulty in speaking about the people`s problems, including during the presidential debate,” he remarked.

For the second round of the presidential debate, the two pairs will debate over the issues of energy, food, natural resources, environment, and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, during the first round of presidential debates, the two pairs debated over the issues of law, human rights, corruption, and terrorism.

As revealed in the first round, the rundown of the debates comprised six segments, including delivering each pair`s vision and mission.

The first segment was about the delivery of each pair`s vision and mission. The second and third segments contain responses to open questions, specifically the questions prepared by the panelists.

In the fourth and fifth segments, the two pairs of candidates will raise questions and respond to queries they received in a debate format.

In the sixth segment, the KPU will ask each of the pairs to make a closing statement, KPU Chairman Arief Budiman explained.

The KPU has prepared five rounds of presidential debates ahead of the convening of the 2019 Presidential Election on April 17, which will be broadcast live by several TV channels.

The presidential debates are expected to help some 192 million eligible voters, who will participate in this democratic process, get well informed on the two pairs` capacity and capability.

By having sufficient information on the candidates, they will be able to vote rationally. Whoever wins the upcoming presidential election, Indonesia will have a new pair of capable president and vice president.

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