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Indonesia defence minister gains ground with young people for 2024 election

Indonesia defence minister gains ground with young people for 2024 election
Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto speaks during a joint news conference with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (not pictured), following their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov 21, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto retains an early lead ahead of the 2024 presidential election, with an opinion poll on Sunday (July 23) showing support for the ex-special forces commander is particularly strong among young voters.

The Indikator poll, which focussed on canvassing the views of young voters, showed Prabowo with a slim to sizeable lead based on various scenarios.

Conducted between June 20 and 24, the poll surveyed 1,220 people across the world's third-largest democracy, with more than 60 per cent of respondents aged below 42. Around 107 million, or more than half of voters registered for the February 2024 poll, are under 40, according to electoral data.

In a match-up among the top three presidential contenders, the poll showed Prabowo with 36.8 per cent, narrowly ahead of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo with 35.7 per cent and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan with 21.5 per cent. The poll had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

In a two-way race Prabowo had a clear lead over Ganjar, 49.5 per cent to 40.9 per cent.

This is the third poll since May that has shown the fiery former general emerging as an early and unexpected frontrunner, with the latest survey showing he has strong support among Gen Z, Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Prabowo, a controversial former general accused of human rights abuses that he has always denied, lost in consecutive bids to become president in 2014 and 2019.

Gaining legitimacy as defence minister and embarking on a rebranding campaign that has included reaching out to young people through a sophisticated social media presence, Prabowo is now gaining momentum.

The tacit support of President Joko Widodo, who commands an approval rating above 80 per cent, has also helped boost his popularity, analysts say.

Jokowi, as the president is known, was elected in 2014 and is serving his second and final term.

The president, who is a member of the Democratic Party of Struggle, which has officially nominated Ganjar as its candidate, has appeared recently often alongside Prabowo in public events.

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