Presidential debate

Kompas Newspaper – December 6, 2023

1st Man: Hopefully they'll be lots of meat in it, not just stock.

2nd Man: Let alone a spokesperson.

Woman: A spokesperson?

2nd Woman: Hey, let them debate first.

Most observers expect that that the upcoming 2024 presidential debate will offer little in terms of substance or insight into the candidates programs and policies.

"If the public believed the 2019 presidential debate lacked substances, the 2024 debate would be just the same", constitutional law expert Bivitri Susant told Tempo on December 10.

Susant explained that the moderator in the debate will only read out the list of questions previously drafted by the panelists and would not be authorised to ask follow-up questions.

Susant, who acted as a panelist in the 2019 presidential election debate between president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto (who will be contesting the elections for a third time in February), explained that panelists were tasked with drafting questions but were not allowed to ask questions.

Susant added that the current format cannot even be called a debate, and because they cannot ask questions, it is impossible to ensure that the prepared questions are actually answered by candidates.

"Follow-up questions are not allowed", she said. "It's not a debate, just a speech". "In reality, the questions are being asked by famous moderators [acting] as a mere time-keeper", she told Tempo.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has announced that the first debate between the three presidential candidates – former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto – will be held at the KPU offices in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Tuesday December 12.

The questions, which were drafted by 11 panelists, will be read out by two moderators and will cover issues of governance, law, human rights, corruption eradication, democracy, public services and public harmony.