The top brass of the TNI and National Police were invited to witness the debate being held at the Shangri-La Hotel, Central Jakarta, Saturday evening, due to their close connection to matters relating to defence and security that incumbent President Joko Widodo and his challenger Prabowo Subianto will be debating on, KPU Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan stated.
In the fourth round of the presidential debate, the KPU commissioners had planned to not only extend an invitation to the cabinet members but also welcomed them if the national campaign teams of Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin, and Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pairs invited them, he remarked.
The KPU had readied 500 invitations for presidential debate on Saturday evening. Some 100 invitations were extended to the campaign teams of the two presidential and vice presidential pairs, while the remaining 300 invitations were of the KPU, Setiawan noted.
For convening the fourth round of the debate, the KPU held final rehearsals to ensure adequate preparations as planned for the presidential debate, he stated.
During the rehearsals, the KPU also conducted a simulation by drawing reference from the format of the third round of debate. Similar to the three earlier rounds of debate, this event will also be telecast live, with several television channels, including SCTV and Indosiar live-streaming it.
During the fourth debate, the two presidential candidates not only shed light on their views and perspectives but also debated wholeheartedly on select topics. Nine penalists -- Zakiyuddin, J. Haryatmoko S. J., Erwan Agus Purwanto, Valina Singka Subekti, Al Araf, Apolo Safanpo, Dadang Tri Sasongko, I Basis Eko Soesilo, and Kusnanto Anggoro -- prepared and drafted the questionnaire for the fourth debate.
The KPU has organized five rounds of the presidential debates for the Widodo-Amin and Subianto-Uno pairs for the 2019 presidential elections.
The first and second presidential debates were organized on January 17 and February 17, 2019, respectively, during which the two presidential candidates spoke in depth on their views and perspectives concerning issues of law, corruption, terrorism, environment, and infrastructure.
The third debate, organized on Mar 17, drew focus on educational, employment, health, as well as social and cultural issues. The presidential debates are expected to offer greater clarity on the two pairs' capacity and capability to some 192 million eligible voters.
Apart from convening the presidential debates, the KPU has also allowed the presidential and vice presidential candidate pairs to hold open campaign trails during the period between Mar 24 and Apr 13.
On Mar 28, for instance, Widodo conducted an open campaign at the Ahmad Kirang field in Mamuju District, West Sulawesi Province, during which he appealed to his supporters to come dressed in white shirts when they cast their vote on April 17.
Meanwhile, on Mar 29, or a day prior to the convening of the fourth round of the presidential debate, Indonesian Presidential candidate number 02 Subianto had a surprise in store for the journalists covering his campaign event in Karawang District, West Java Province.
Subianto acknowledged the presence of media workers at his campaign event on Friday but simultaneously called on them to bear in mind that they "belong" to the people, including those currently seeking a change in regime.
"Hello, media in Indonesia. You all belong to the people. Do not broadcast lies. Our people are demanding a regime change, justice, prosperity, and peace. Our people do not want to be cheated anymore," he stated.
Armed with adequate information that the eligible voters receive from the five rounds of debate and open campaign trails of the two pairs of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, they are expected to cast their votes rationally.
Irrespective of which pair emerges victorious in the upcoming presidential election, Indonesia will certainly bear witness to a new and capable president and vice president. EDITED BY INE