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Debates continue to disappoint observers

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Rabu, 01 Juli 2009

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Wed, 07/01/2009 9:56 AM  |  Headlines

The fourth session of the presidential/vice presidential debates might not have a clear winner as observers are divided on who performed better. The following are the assessments of observers who followed the broadcast of the event.

Aleksius Jemadu, acting dean of Social and Political Sciences Faculty of the Pelita Harapan University in Karawaci, Banten, believes Prabowo clearly won Tuesday’s debate.

“Learning from his shortcomings in the first debate, Prabowo came up with a clear logic in presenting his vision and mission in improving the quality of life for Indonesians.

“He wants to convince his audience that the solutions to many of our problems are around us.”

Aleksius graded Prabowo a near perfect of 4.9 out of 5. Boediono and Wiranto tied at 3.5.

Boediono started with a simple story about a fisherman he met during his campaign trip.

“Unfortunately, Boediono was not really sure about what he wanted to say,” Aleksius said.

Wiranto started his presentation with a paradox. How can a nation with an abundance of natural resources have so many poor people?

“This is a good start to justify the new economic policies that he and Jusuf Kalla are going to introduce,” Aleksius said.

“His emphasis on the fulfilment of people’s basic needs is quite appealing as a strategy to improve our quality of life.”

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Institute for Press and Development Studies, Ignatius Haryanto, said the debate was a tie between Prabowo and Boediono.

“Prabowo managed to deliver all the substantive issues during his opening speech.

Boediono also did that during his opening speech, but mostly talked about health-related issues.

“Both men were then involved in a debate regarding the financing source of their programs,” he said.
Ignatius said Wiranto seemed left in the dark.

“It was very evident that Wiranto did not have any idea regarding the essence of the debate.”

He added they missed important points on the birth control issue.

Usman Hamid, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), named Boediono as the victor.

“Boediono showed he possessed a high proficiency on the debate’s main topic. He managed to concretely elaborate his programs about improving people’s welfare.”

“For example, he hit the nail on the head when he spoke of the importance of developing the role of National Family Planning Coordinating Board [BKKBN] to deal with health issues, because the board is responsible for producing guidance for pregnant women and babies.”

Usman said the other candidates, Prabowo and Wiranto, were very normative and that their sincerity was questionable due to their body language during their elaborations.

Political analyst J. Kristiadi from the Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) also found Boediono to be the best performer.

“Prabowo seemed to be the most expert on the issues, but Boediono was more focused.”

Kristiadi praised Boediono’s statements on family planning (KB), social security (Jamsos) and community children health post (Posyandu) programs.

Kristiadi said Prabowo “repetitively blamed the current government” although his performance was better than the previous one.

Wiranto over-complained rather than offering solutions, he said.

Kristiadi downgraded Boediono from “Excellent” to “Very Good” while Prabowo was upgraded from “Satisfactory Minus” to “Good”, sharing the grade with Wiranto.

Ahmad Sukarsono, co-founder of the English Debate Society at the University of Indonesia said the debate was a total disappointment.

“It started when the moderator asked candidates to introduce their rivals. That’s unheard of in a debate.

“The opening statements were made up of shopping lists of promises that lacked substantiation and professional jargon that failed to make sense.”

However, Ahmad said Prabowo should be commended for mounting attacks against the unfulfilled
government promises of free schooling and the passing of laws that encourage commercialization of education.

“He was the sharpest among the three although sometimes his passion was a bit unchecked. But it was fresh air compared to Boediono who seemed blunt in his second debate.

“The professor delivered his opening anecdote without flair, making it sound unconvincing. His explanations were not as succinct as his statements in the first debate, leaving a dull taste.”

Ahmad was also relieved Wiranto did not sing.

“His speech was an attempt to show his closeness to poor people and that felt as scripted and saccharine as his serenades.”

“Later, Wiranto tried to repeat Kalla’s success in walking away from the podium but that move did not pay off because he still looked stiff, not flowing at all.”

Ahmad gave 3 out of 5 or average to Prabowo and 2 or poor to both Boediono and Wiranto.



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