Indonesia’s upcoming presidential candidate promises to bring change from the Widodo era

Anies Baswedan, the former governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, is garnering widespread support as a presidential candidate ahead of the February 2024 election. He is competing in a three-way battle against the current defense minister Prabowo Subianto and Ganjar Pranowo. Baswedan’s campaign is centered around the concept of change and equality in policymaking, seeking to differentiate himself from his opponents who have promised to largely continue the current administration’s policies.

Baswedan’s slogan, “fair, prosperous Indonesia for all,” emphasizes his promise of economic development that benefits all Indonesians, not just the elite. He has also pledged to strengthen the country’s corruption eradication commission and distribute wealth more fairly. On foreign policy, Baswedan criticized the incumbent President Joko Widodo for not personally attending the United Nations General Assembly, promising a more active role on the international stage if elected.

Recent polls show Baswedan’s rising popularity among voters, as his numbers have increased while Pranowo’s support has declined. Baswedan’s support has made him a strong contender for the second runoff spot against Subianto.

The former education minister has distanced himself from his former boss, Widodo, criticizing his legacy policy of moving the capital from Jakarta to the island of Borneo. Baswedan believes that addressing the problems in major Indonesian cities like Jakarta should take priority over building a new capital.

Despite criticism and accusations, particularly regarding religious divisions, Baswedan’s focus on policy-based campaigning and commitment to change has resonated with voters. He has also emphasized the importance of ethical leadership, particularly in response to attacks from his opponents.

As the election date approaches, Baswedan’s promise of change and a fair, prosperous Indonesia has positioned him as a strong contender in the upcoming presidential race.

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