The two candidates competing to be Bali’s next governor faced off on Saturday evening for the province’s inaugural gubernatorial debate but it was apparently more “fun” and less “bite” from the contenders.
The debate, put on by the Bali Election Commission (KPU) at the Goodway Hotel & Resort in Mumbul, Nusa Dua was themed “Promoting and Resolving Regional Issues.” Bali’s current governor, Made Mangku Pastika was in attendance, along with other province-level elected officials.
The June 27 election will see the selection of “Koster-Ace,” pair “number one” representing the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Wayan Koster and his deputy governor candidate Ardhana Sukawati or “Mantra-Kerta,” pair “number two”, Ida Bagus Rai Dharmawijaya Mantra and his deputy candidate, Ketut Sudikerta.
Mantra-Kerta is supported by the Bali People’s Coalition (KRB), a consolidation of the Golkar, Democrat, Gerindra, NasDem, PKS, and PBB parties.
In Saturday’s two-hour debate, the rivals discussed their visions for facing Bai’s biggest current issues, encompassing economics, agriculture, tourism, and of course, the environment.
The debate was overall pretty friendly—you can even see a photo of all four holding hands and smiling in a picture taken after the debate—but things did apparently get a little more interesting towards the end and in the question and answer session.
Undoubtedly, the environment and waste management is one of the biggest problems facing Bali at the moment, as floods are brought on every year by heavy rains and rubbish blocking sewage systems during the island’s wet season.
Coster did poke at Mantra’s ability to handle waste management, as Mantra is the current mayor of Denpasar.
But Mantra seemed ready for the critique, responding that Denpasar previously had 34 points of flooding, but under his leadership, that number has been reduced to 11 in the island’s capital city.
Though of course, Coster, who is the chairman of the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI) Bali did not take Mantra’s response as a given and questioned his rival’s data.
Later on, in closing, Mantra later brought up the controversial proposed reclamation of South Bali’s Benoa Bay, a project that he says he is firmly against.
“We promise, if God wills us to lead Bali, that we will consistently refused the reclamation of Benoa Bay,” Mantra said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.