The three gubernatorial debates ahead of next month’s election are considered extremely important in the eyes of Jakarta citizens, a survey from polling agency Indonesian Survey Institute, or LSI, has revealed. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

Calm Agus, Masterful Ahok, Timed Anies: Pundit


JANUARY 14, 2017

Jakarta. Nona Evita, a researcher for the Populi Center, a political watchdog, says the long-awaited gubernatorial debate at the Bidakara Hotel in South Jakarta on Friday evening (13/01) generally met people's expectations.

Nona said each candidate communicated well and explained their programs in language that was easy to understand.

"But there were some who did not answer [the questions] right on target, whether due to time limitations or by them not understanding the real solution," Nona said in Jakarta on Saturday.

She added that the three gubernatorial candidate pairs – Agus Yudhoyono-Sylviana Murni, incumbent Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama-Djarot Saiful Hidayat and Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno – have their own ways of mastering the stage, influenced by their tones, abilities to express themselves and time management.

"Agus and Sylvi were calm, confident and not rushing into answering questions. However, the time limitation prevented them from answering perfectly," Nona said.

Ahok and Djarot had the advantage of mastering the content as they seek re-election. As incumbents, they understand the issues well and know the solutions, which they explained properly.

"However, in the fourth and fifth sessions, Ahok's emotional composure was again tested as he had to face his opponents in question-and-answer sessions. He successfully passed these sessions," Nona said.

Nona said Anies and Sandiaga answered almost all the questions in a timely manner, but that Sandiaga gave more realistic and accurate answers than Anies.

"It is different with Anies, who is an academic, as he lacked technical details in his answers. Anies was more rhetorical [in his responses] and had no direct answers," Nona said.

There will be two more official debates, scheduled for Jan. 27 and Feb. 10, before the Jakarta gubernatorial election on Feb. 15.

Agus and Sylviana are backed by the Democratic Party, United Development Party (PPP), National Awakening Party (PKB) and National Mandate Party (PAN).

Ahok and Djarot are backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), People's Conscience Party (Hanura), Golkar Party and the National Democratic Party (NasDem).

Anies and Sandiaga are supported by the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).