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Prabowo's Anger Issues Becomes His Achilles' Heel in 2024 Election

Prabowo Subianto's anger makes him politically vulnerable.

Liputan6.com, Jakarta - Prabowo Subianto's anger issues is again taking the spotlight in the presidential election. The Minister for Defense was repeatedly caught on camera giving rude comments toward his rival, particularly Anies Baswedan.

During a rally last month, Prabowo rebuked an ethical argument from Anies Baswedan who implicitly criticized the Constitutional Court's decision to revise age limit rule. The ruling allows President Joko Widodo's son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to run as Prabowo's vice presidential candidate. 

Anies gave that statement during the first presidential debate, and Prabowo later expressed his dismay. 

"Ethics, ethics, ethics. Your head ethics!" said Prabowo who used a Javanese word for head ("ndas"). 

Later, a spokesperson from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) clarified that Prabowo said that in "family" setting with his fellow party members.  

But after the third presidential debate on Sunday, Prabowo used harsher words to attack Anies Baswedan.

Prabowo said Anies was using a wrong data against him during the debate, and Prabowo called his rival "goblok" and "tolol" without mentioning Anies' name. Both words mean stupid in Indonesian.

His remarks were met with sarcastic jokes from former Vice President Jusuf Kalla who supports Anies Baswedan, although JK did not explicitly mention Prabowo's name.

"If that one of our fellows is always angry, how would it be when the country were led by someone who is prone to anger?" asked Jusuf Kalla in East Java. 

"How would it be if he debated with the leaders of other countries? [Those leaders] could be punched in the head," joked JK.

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Prabowo's Defense

Facing the criticism, Prabowo Subianto said his language is influenced by his background as a soldier. The defense minister also admitted there have been people who persuade him to soften his rhetoric and avoid provocative debates.

"Indeed, I am not really good in speaking. I understand. Indeed there are those who say I can only dance around," said Prabowo. "I, for a long time, speak as it is. Want me to always speak politely? Or I speak like the politicians? Or I speak like academicians who are good in theory, good in theory but wrong?" 

The dance refers to Prabowo's viral "gemoy" dance on social media. The academician may refer to Anies Baswedan who comes from academic background.

"Prabowo is a former soldier, so his language is usually like that," Prabowo explained. 

Still, Jusuf Kalla gave warning that a country should not be led by someone with temper. 

"There are many things in the state affairs," said JK. "Surely a leader should not be emotional."

In 2019 election, Prabowo's video also went viral when he was punching the podium during a rally.

Prabowo and Jusuf Kalla previously worked together in President Joko Widodo's first cabinet.

 

 

Winda Nelfira, Muhammad Ali, and Lizsa, Egeham contributed to this report.

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