Indonesia Elections 2024: High stakes as presidential candidates face off in last TV

JAKARTA: Ten days before Indonesians head to the polls and with the prized presidency of the world’s third-largest democracy at stake, the three presidential candidates faced off for the last time in a televised debate on Sunday (Feb 4) as they made pledges to improve health and welfare of voters.

Like the previous four debates, each candidate had a few minutes to outline their vision and ideas, followed by a segment where they answered questions from experts and a subsequent segment where they could give questions to their opponents.

Defence Minister and frontrunner Prabowo Subianto was the first to speak on the topics of health, education, social welfare, culture, information technology employment and human resources.

He said he and running mate Gibran Rakamuning Raka want to improve the lives of Indonesians by giving nutritional food to all children, including to expecting mothers.

“This will happen until the children become adults. This will prevent maternal mortality rate, this will prevent malnutrition, stunting and extreme poverty,” said the 72-year-old.

Former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo pledged to focus on health by encouraging people to do sports to prevent getting sick, ensuring that there is at least one health facility in every village with one health worker.

He said he also wants to create inclusive education which will produce skilful workers. 

“We will also think about teachers, lectures…and women and people with disabilities, so they won’t be discriminated against and can work,” said Mr Ganjar.

Meanwhile, former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said he would ensure there is no inequality and injustice.

He said there is currently inequality such as between those living in Jakarta versus those living outside the capital, as well as between the rich and the poor.

“We want change. We want healthy people, those who grow up bright with education,” said Mr Anies, 54. “We don’t want inequality.”

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