THIS title is undoubtedly controversial. The presidential election hasn’t happened yet, and there’s still a significant amount of time left, around 50 days, not to mention the possibility of a second round in June.

Supporters of the Anies-Cak Imin ticket are surely elated, envisioning their victory and the realization of their desired changes. Conversely, supporters of the Prabowo-Gibran ticket are likely amused, holding a firm belief in their victory in a single-round election. Their confidence stems from two factors: the support of power and limitless logistical strength.

State apparatuses are at work, and money is being distributed, especially in remote villages in Central and East Java. If power is at work, it operates in a structured and professional manner. What voter wouldn’t be swayed by money and basic necessities?

Even religious leaders are not immune to such influences. How could the Anies-Cak Imin pair possibly compete?

The Ganjar-Mahfud team is reportedly becoming more realistic as their funds dwindle and their political maneuvers become limited. Many of their supporters are shifting allegiance to Jokowi, thereby supporting Prabowo-Gibran. Only about 15-18% remain loyal, a strategy seemingly desired by Prabowo-Gibran to secure a one-round victory.

The influence of power and logistics is indeed formidable, but people often overlook the performance of presidential candidates, a significant and decisive factor.

Prabowo consistently disappoints with his performance. His issues always stem from a lack of a humanistic character when appearing in public. This wouldn’t be a problem if he were open to reminders and change. But who dares to counsel the general? Even Jokowi might struggle. Prabowo’s spontaneous behavior, such as the infamous “Ndasmu” and “jacket grabbing” incidents, reveal his subconscious nature. Again, it’s a matter of character.

“Styling” Prabowo is not an easy task. Unlike Jokowi, who excels in hypnotizing voters with his image, Prabowo’s character is rigid and self-willed. “Doesn’t want to be managed” is the crux of his persona.

Voters, even when intimidated or appeased with basic necessities, will think twice about choosing Prabowo with his self-centered character. His running mate’s ethical flaws during the Constitutional Court proceedings add to this hesitance.

Ethics, manipulations, and repeated rule violations are no longer the standards by which many in this nation determine their political stance. The public has become desensitized. However, the performance of a presidential candidate remains a dominant variable.

Anies Baswedan consistently presents himself as a presidential figure. His strong leadership, humanistic approach, and relatability, coupled with intelligent ideas, set a high bar. The public is bound to make comparisons. His growing public attention, especially in the presidential debates, intensifies his social outreach.

Considering these factors, Anies Baswedan has a significant chance of defeating Prabowo in the second round. Debates are increasingly influential in shaping public opinion and choices.

Acknowledging his suitability, many believe Anies Baswedan is the best fit to lead Indonesia’s future, particularly for the upcoming 2024-2029 term.

* Dr. Tony Rosyid, Political Analyst and Columnist


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