Wanted: A true leader during crises


Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo (left) and Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.

If young voters were to go to the ballot box today, they would choose either Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo or outgoing Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as their president.

In a run-off voting between the governors, Anies would triumph, a survey shows.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, despite being more popular than the two governors in recent opinion polls, would win the least favour of those aged between 17 and 39, who will make up 54% of voters in the 2024 presidential election.

The findings from the survey by the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of 1,200 young voters showed that the millennials and Gen-Z did not think Prabowo, who is also Gerindra Party chairman, could offer something new.

Their top demands of leaders are the abilities to “make a change”, “lead in times of crises” and “make innovative policies”.

When it comes to character, a president must be “honest and non-corrupt”, “populist and simple” and “firm and having integrity”.

“In the 2024 election, young voters favour a clean and non-corrupt and an innovative leader who is able to lead in crisis situations,” said the survey conducted between Aug 8 and 13, and published in September.

The young voters polled also want a leader who is concerned about environmental health, employment, democracy and eradication of corruption. They hope for better civil liberties and stronger law enforcement agencies.

CSIS political analyst Arya Fernandes said young voters now are more outspoken and use social media not only to express their thoughts, but also get information.

He said Ganjar and Anies, both 53, are more adept at using social media platforms such as Instagram to communicate their programmes and achievements.

Prabowo, 70, has run in the election three times – in 2009 as running mate to Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, and in 2014 and 2019 as presidential candidate contesting against President Joko Widodo.

His concerns had always been on national interest, populist economics and defence, which did not interest young people.

“He is seen as an old elite and does not represent the spirit of young people now. To them, regeneration is important and Anies and Ganjar are seen as the new elite who are able to bring new ideas, new vision and progress for Indonesia,” said Arya.

“Prabowo will face a tough situation if he were to run in 2024.” — The Straits Times/ANN

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