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Indonesia to hold second presidential debate

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Indonesia to hold second presidential debate

Indonesia will hold its second presidential debate today, focusing on defense, security, and geopolitics.

In recent years, Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, has faced allegations of democratic backsliding amid escalating corruption, attacks on freedom of speech, and persecution of minority groups.

Candidates Prabowo Subianto, Ganjar Prawnowo, and Anies Baswedan sparred about human rights abuses across Indonesia and discussed a recent controversial decision by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court to lower the minimum age limit for elected officials to run for the presidency and vice presidency, allowing the current president’s son to run as vice president. The debate brought up Prabowo’s human rights allegations, but he responded by accusing his opponents of politicizing human rights.

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The three candidates are competing to succeed incumbent president Joko Widodo, who has already served two terms and cannot run again. The election will take place on February 14 next year. The first debate offered no clear frontrunner, though opinion polls currently put Prabowo, the defense minister and a former general, as the lead. Should Prabowo win, he will likely spearhead a program of military modernization to complement the increasingly confident role Indonesia plays on the regional and global stage. Under his rule, however, Indonesia will likely continue its drift to a type of illiberal democracy.

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