| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Indonesia defence minister gains ground with young people for 2024 election

Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto maintains an early lead in the presidential race in 2024, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday, with support for the ex-special forces commander particularly strong among young voters.

The Indikator poll, which focused on young voters’ opinions, showed Prabowo with a slight to significant lead based on several scenarios.

Conducted between June 20 and 24, the poll surveyed 1,220 people across the world’s third-largest democracy, with more than 60% 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%, narrowly ahead of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo with 35.7% and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan with 21.5%. 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% to 40.9%.

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%, 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.

  • Reuters