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Monday, February 18, 2019, 17:38
Unicorns are real: Tech baffles Indonesian candidate
By Associated Press
Monday, February 18, 2019, 17:38 By Associated Press

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, delivers his speech as his contender in the upcoming presidential election Prabowo Subianto listens during a televised debate in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 17, 2019. (ACHMAD IBRAHIM / AP)

JAKARTA — Indonesia's presidential candidates debated some of the most pressing issues facing the world's third-largest democracy: dilapidated infrastructure, struggling farmers, forest fires — and unicorns.

Indonesia has several unicorns and they are transforming areas of the national economy such as transport and shopping

When President Joko Widodo, who is seeking a second term, asked challenger Prabowo Subianto about his policies for supporting unicorns — tech start-up companies worth at least US$1 billion — a look of bafflement passed across the former general's face.

READ MORE: Indonesia presidential campaign heats up with first debate

Wondering aloud, he replied: "What are unicorns? You mean those online things?" 

Widodo sagely nodded in the affirmative before Subianto explained he supports online businesses.

Subianto was probably not alone in his ignorance, but Widodo supporters on social media gleefully seized on Sunday night's exchange as proof of Subianto's lack of qualification to be president.

ALSO READ: Indonesia set for repeat contest in 2019 presidential poll

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, who is seeking a second term, delivers his speech during a televised debate in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 17, 2019. (ACHMAD IBRAHIM / AP)

Indonesia has several unicorns and they are transforming areas of the national economy such as transport and shopping.

Twitter and Facebook were awash with unicorn memes after the debate.

In one, juxtaposed photos of Widodo and Subianto with thought bubbles above their heads showed Widodo projecting tech start-up logos and Subianto imagining the magical horned horse creature.

Sunday night's debate was the second of five televised face-offs between the opposing campaigns before April's election.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta, Indonesia, speaks during a televised debate in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 17, 2019. (ACHMAD IBRAHIM / AP)

Opinion polls show Widodo about 20 percentage points ahead of Subianto. The former general, who is campaigning on a Trump-style Indonesia First platform, narrowly lost to Widodo in the 2014 election.

After the debate started, smoke and the sound of an explosion caused panic near the venue in central Jakarta. City police are investigating and said it was probably firecrackers. No one was injured.

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