Prabowo says democracy ‘messy and costly’, calls for improvement

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Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto discusses democracy (in English) at the Mandiri Investment Forum on March 5. Video: Kompas TV

By Dani Prabowo in Jakarta

Indonesia’s Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto — the man expected to become President after his decisive win in last month’s elections — says democracy in the country is still messy and very costly.

Prabowo said he was still not satisfied with the implantation of democracy in his homeland.

He said there was a need for improvement to democracy in the future.

“Let me testify that democracy is really very, very exhausting. Democracy is very, very messy, democracy is very, very costly,” Prabowo said during a speech in English at the Mandiri Investment Forum last week.

The speech was broadcast online on the Kompas TV YouTube channel last Tuesday.

“And we are still not satisfied with our democracy. There is a lot of room for improvement”, he said.

Prabowo also said he appreciated the participation of the Indonesian people in the 2024 elections which reached 80 percent.

Participation ‘not bad’
According to Prabowo, the electoral participation in Indonesia was not bad — especially when compared to other countries that adhere to a democratic system but where voter participation did not reach 50 percent.

“In our elections, voter participation reached 80 percent. An average of 80 percent. That isn’t bad,” he said.

“Bearing in mind many countries, democratic countries, sometimes the turnout is less than 50 percent.”

The presidential candidate referred to his experience in the 2024 elections where, because of the vast size of Indonesia, he could not visit all the existing provinces.

Of the 38 provinces in the country, Prabowo said he had only been able to visit around 26.

However, he promised that after the elections he would visit the rest of the provinces that he had never visited.

“But after this election I still have to go to and visit those provinces (which I’ve not yet visited). Because I promised [them] that I will visit,” he added.

Prabowo has faced criticism in the Melanesian provinces of West Papua region by indigenous people seeking self-determination because of his troubled human rights record in both Papua and Timor-Leste.

Translated by James Balowski for Indoleft News. The Kompas author is unrelated to Minister Prabowo. The original title of the article was “Prabowo: Demokrasi Sangat Berantakan dan Mahal, Ada Banyak Ruang untuk Perbaikan”.

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