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Dead heat for Joko and Prabowo in first one-on-one TV debate

Published on Jun 16, 2014 1:44 AM
Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo (left) shaking hands with his opponent Prabowo Subianto after a debate in Jakarta on June 15, 2014. Indonesia's two presidential candidates traded nationalist rhetoric on Sunday in a debate ahead of July's election, with the front-runner suggesting he would make South-east Asia's biggest economy more protectionist. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE contrast between Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and his opponent Prabowo Subianto was on sharp display on Sunday night when the two presidential candidates met for a second round of televised debates, this time without their running mates.

Their topic: economic development and social welfare, issues close to the heart of the country’s 186 million voters as well as multinationals operating in South-east Asia’s largest economy.

Mr Joko, or Jokowi as he is commonly known, spoke first and told a story about the hopes and aspirations of ordinary Indonesians he had met in recent weeks.

He recounted how a washerwoman from Manado, a fisherman from Belawan near Medan, a farmer from Central Java and a teacher in West Java told him how they wished for the kind of economic development that would improve their own well-being as well. He assured them that the country’s economic growth would be equitably shared.

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