Lessons from Indonesian presidential debate

Indonesia’s democracy has evolved. Never before had Indonesians followed election-related programs as they had been following Jokowi vs Prabowo debate.

Never before had Indonesians actively engaged in social media to express their opinions and even more tried to persuade fellow voters to follow their choice.

Never before had Indonesians removed their friends from the Facebook friend list simply because they ‘got enough’ seeing their friends aggressively promote one presidential candidate, and quite often, therefore do what is considered to be ‘black campaign’ against other candidate.

What do these changes actually mean?

Has this process grown more optimism among Indonesians?

Despite the costs of this democracy process, Indonesians are pretty privileged to get opportunities for making a reflection on how the country has achieved so far.

The presidential debate has brought up some of the key issues that the country is facing from international relations, food security, social safety nets, etc.

To even write a Facebook status, one needs to do a research.

This critical thinking is an asset for creating a better Indonesia.

The challenge is the more we know about a topic, the more we understand how complicated an issue is and strategies to solve this are normally not quite straightforward. Take poverty reduction as an example.

We all know the statistics (although data may vary depending the indicator we adopt), but the remaining question is how we can design poverty reduction programs effectively such that it is effectively-targeted, impacts our fiscal balance reasonably whilst still maintaining a healthy economic growth rate.

For many people, this ‘struggle’ to find solutions may lead to a reasonable view, that is:

it will take more than a great president to solve all issues that Indonesia is facing and every single individual’s contribution matters for this country

This is the point where both voters and presidential candidate themselves must remember so that reasonable expectations can be set; so that we continue to participate in this democratic process; so that we can all work together towards a better Indonesia. We really want put emphasis on the word ‘we’.

Congratulations Indonesia on making this progress!




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