Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015

Jokowi, Prabowo off to a feistier start in first televised debate

Published on Jun 9, 2014 10:57 PM
Indonesia's vice-presidential candidate Hatta Rajasa (left) greets presidential candidate Joko Widodo (second left), while presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (second right) greets vice-presidential candidate Jusuf Kalla, before their presidential debate in Jakarta on June 9, 2014.  -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - The first televised debate between contenders of the upcoming Indonesian presidential election got off to a feistier than expected start on Monday, with Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla coming out more strongly against their opponents, former special forces commander Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Hatta Rajasa. 

Over two hours, both pairs answered questions on how they would uphold democracy and the rule of law, and improve governance and respect for diversity.

While the general tone of the debate was cordial, Mr Joko, commonly known as Jokowi, and Mr Kalla, surprised many by taking subtle digs at their opponents' weak points and track record. 

"Leaders have to lead by example. When they talk about human rights, they have to respect human rights," said Mr Kalla, taking a dig at Mr Prabowo's controversial human rights record.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!