On A Mission To Find Indonesia’s Best Leaders Ahead Of 2024 General Election – OpEd


Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world, with an estimated 204 million voters. Indonesia’s political landscape is heating up ahead of the five-year democratic celebration. February 14, 2024, is the day when the Indonesian people will elect a president and vice president along with their staff to continue the government.

Joko Widodo will soon leave his government after two terms (10 years). In this year’s general election, there are three pairs of candidates: Anies Rasyid Baswedan – Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar (1), Prabowo Subianto – Gibran Rakabuming Raka (2), and Ganjar Pranowo – Mahfud MD (3). To win this election, these three candidates must at least win more than 50% of the total Indonesian votes. If this is not achieved, a second round of elections will be held in June. So in the last few months until February 10, the candidates continue to campaign to win the hearts of the Indonesian people. 

In this election, a new issue emerged that attracted the attention of the entire community. Assessing the little government under Joko Widodo, Indonesia was able to encourage economic growth, but experienced a setback in terms of democracy, one of which was evidenced by the existence of dynastic politics. The issue of dynastic politics arose when his son ran in this election as the vice presidential candidate of Prabowo Subianto. The impact of this candidacy became more widespread as various universities in Indonesia criticized Jokowi and Gibran for being undemocratic and abusing authority. 

To convince Indonesians of their choice, the General Election Commission as the institution in charge of managing elections has provided five presidential and vice presidential candidate debates to find out more about the vision and mission of each candidate. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each presidential candidate.

Anies Baswedan 

Anies Baswedan is a Muslim political activist who promoted change during his administration. He became the governor of DKI Jakarta before running for the Indonesian presidency. During his time as governor, he claimed the success of his performance, namely the integration of public transportation, the development of micro, small and medium enterprises, the development of sports facilities where the Jakarta International Stadium (JIS) was built, and the digitization of public services. However, during his campaign to become governor, he often used identity politics, when he ran against Ahok who is a Christian and Chinese in 2017. In his presidential candidacy, Anies chose Imin as his partner as well as to seek votes in the East Java region, given that Imin is also the chairman of PKB. Both of them carried ‘Indonesia Adil Makmur untuk Semua’ in the general election. 

Prabowo Subianto 

Prabowo Subianto is the Minister of Defense in Joko Widodo’s administration until 2024. During his tenure, he claimed several achievements, namely modernizing Indonesia’s defense equipment, developing the domestic defense industry, and contributing to the economy and employment. In running as a presidential candidate, he has a vision to continue Joko Widodo’s development. Prabowo himself is well known among young people with the jargon ‘gemoy’ which means funny. However, his dark past has not escaped him. He was allegedly involved in the abduction of 23 activities during the May 1998 riots when he served as commander of the army’s strategic reserve command. In the aftermath, he was then dismissed for disciplinary reasons, and even his name was blacklisted by the United States. In addition, he was also involved in offenses during Indonesia’s brutal war in East Timor. Prabowo and his running mate endorsed “Bersama Indonesia Maju Menuju Indonesia Emas 2045” during their presidential and vice presidential campaigns.

Ganjar Pranowo 

Ganjar Pranowo has two terms of experience as the governor of Central Java and during the campaign, he used a populist approach, known as blusukan. Ganjar himself is running as a presidential candidate with the PDIP Party. During his tenure as governor, he claimed several successes such as increasing access to education, agricultural empowerment through the farmer card program, and infrastructure development. However, he is not free from a past that has some controversies, namely the agrarian conflict in Wadas and Rembang where he gave permission for PT Semen Indonesia’s mining activities and Wadas residents were intimidated and arrested by law enforcement officials. In addition, Ganjar also received attention after rejecting the Israeli national team in the U-20 World Cup. As a result, the Indonesian national team failed to compete in this event and Indonesia failed to host the event and suffered a loss of Rp 3.7 trillion. During the presidential and vice presidential candidacies, Ganjar and his running mate endorsed ‘Gerak Cepat Menuju Indonesia Unggul’.

Thus, apart from their advantages, they have their black records. In this election, we are trying to find a better leader, because there is no perfect leader. So, let us use our voting rights to elect leaders who are believed to have a good vision and mission for the progress of Indonesia. Vote honestly and secretly and free from pressure from any party.

Grace Inka Putri

Grace Inka Putri is a freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations with a focus on Security and Peace Studies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *