Swing Voters and the Fifth Indonesian Presidential Debate

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Indonesia’s 2024 presidential election culminates with the fifth and final debate on February 4th, focusing on socio-cultural welfare, information technology, education, health, employment, and human resources. With a significant number of undecided voters, can this debate sway their choice?

Topics for Young Voters: Surveys show young voters prioritize themes like public welfare (44.4%), employment (21.3%), education (11%), and health (6.2%). The debate holds great interest for them, with candidates expected to address topics like:

  • Job creation: With a growing working population, job opportunities are crucial. Candidates must address AI’s impact and highlight their plans for millions of new jobs.
  • Education affordability: Cost remains a major concern for students. Candidates need to showcase concrete plans for making education more accessible.

Health Sector Priorities: Experts suggest focusing on:

  • Increased access to primary healthcare: This can significantly reduce child and maternal mortality and prevent chronic diseases like stunting.
  • Prevention of infectious diseases: A classic challenge for Indonesia, requiring tailored approaches for diverse regions.
  • Health insurance, nutrition, disaster management, and environmental health: Crucial areas for a disaster-prone country like Indonesia.

Candidates’ Strategies:

  • Anies-Muhaimin: Targeting “swing voters” with data-driven arguments, prioritizing social welfare, inclusion, price stability, and direct cash assistance. They aim to improve human resources, neglected in their view.
  • Ganjar-Mahfud: Highlighting Ganjar’s experience as governor, focusing on targeted social assistance, job creation, affordable housing, free 12-year education, increased research budgets, and inclusivity for women and people with disabilities.
  • Prabowo-Gibran: Claiming to have studied all themes, with prepared arguments on employment, inclusive development, IT, education, and human resources. They target undecided voters, particularly critical voters seeking the candidate with the fewest negatives.

Impact on Voters:

  • Confirmation for decided voters: They seek validation of their chosen candidate’s performance.
  • Decision tool for undecided voters: The debate can serve as a final reference point for their choice.
  • Clarification of positions: Candidates can use the debate to address key issues and respond to criticisms.

While experts differ on the debate’s ultimate impact, it undoubtedly presents a final opportunity for candidates to engage voters, particularly those still undecided, on critical issues shaping Indonesia’s future.

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