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Indonesia's Youth Election Buzz: K-Pop and TikTok Shake Up Political Scene

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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As the country nears the polls, 18-year-old first-time voter Nafis Athallah is caught up in the Indonesian election buzz. "Social media has mirrored exactly what is on the street and, according to friends' opinions, underlines how in the February 14 vote, young voters like Nafis are important.

With over half of Indonesia's electorate now below 40 and a third below 30, political parties are competing for their attention, given their power. Prabowo Subianto has the most elaborate campaign, but there is no clear winner. Competing against him are Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo.

And then there's the youth vote, a crucial demographic that remains spread out among candidates, inciting a manifold of different outreach strategies from the political parties. From TikTok engagements to K-pop concert giveaways, candidates leave no stone unturned to engage the youth.

Nafis, a communication studies student, is for civil liberties and expresses worry about strict laws. However, some of his friends support Prabowo because of his actual power and promises for security, while others stress a different kind of governance.

Prabowo, who is known for his controversial past, is trying to make an image change to appeal to a wider audience. Partnered with Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the son of the outgoing president, Prabowo hopes to ride on the popularity of Jokowi.

Young voters such as Tete, 19, admire Prabowo for his strong style of leadership and "hope very much" that the construction projects continue under Jokowi. Meanwhile, students like Charliensia Hankssasar Pandanga and activists like Rafaela Xaviera and Mario Yosryandi address such matters as the environment, job opportunities, and civic rights.

As the election day in Indonesia has been coming closer and closer, the youth of the country are getting up on the edge, being vocal for a cause whose outcome will decide the direction of the political topography of the country in the future.

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