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Taking part in determining the direction of the nation, the younger generation must exercise their right to vote in the 2024 elections

The 2024 election is a sharp focus on Indonesian political dynamics. 
With the number of young voters reaching 106 million people, those aged 17-39 years have great potential to become key holders in determining the direction of national politics.
However, the large number of young voters has not been matched by a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of this generation in political discourse. 
Too often, young people are seen as easy targets for politicians who only see them as tools to gather votes, not as agents of change and social development.
In the National Permanent Voter List (DPT) for the 2024 Election, it was recorded that 52 percent of the 204,807,222 voters were young voters, or around 106,358,447 people. 
This figure depicts the age distribution of young voters, with 0.003 percent or around 6,000 people aged 17 years, 31.23 percent or 63.9 million people aged 17-30 years, and 20.70 percent or around 42.395 million people aged 31-40 years. .
However, the characteristics of this younger generation are much more complex than just age. 
Fuadil ‘Ulum, a researcher from the Center for Political Studies at the University of Indonesia, said that the younger generation is a diverse group, including those who are technologically adept, live in urban areas, are educated, and come from middle-class families.
However, this picture is only a small part of Indonesian society. 
Many young people still struggle to access higher education, and their needs are often overlooked.
Each segment of the younger generation has different problems and concerns. 
The younger generation in urban areas is paying more attention to air pollution, traffic jams and limited public space. 
On the other hand, those who live in rural areas are more concerned with food and employment issues.
With these diverse characteristics, Fuadil emphasized that there are many needs of the younger generation who have not been represented in the world of politics. 
One of them is the problem of increasingly limited job opportunities, which means they have to bear the economic burden of the generations above and below them simultaneously.
Until now, the political elite does not seem to have succeeded in providing concrete answers to the various needs of the younger generation. 
On the other hand, political figures sometimes focus more on physical appearance that can attract the attention of the younger generation, such as wearing bomber jackets, riding big motorbikes, or making TikTok videos.
Unfortunately, these things are still too pragmatic and do not reflect the true essence of change. 
According to Fuad, elections should be seen as an opportunity to hear and understand the aspirations of the younger generation, not just as an invitation to exercise their right to vote.
Arya Fernandes, Head of the Department of Politics and Social Change at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, highlighted that the younger generation under the age of 40 has a greater tendency to change their choices.
This may be caused by those who are still waiting for the campaign rounds and presidential and vice presidential candidate debates. 
However, he also noted that there are differences in access to information, especially between the younger generation living in rural and urban areas.
Those who live in villages may be more flexible in responding to change because they are not exposed to as much information as the urban younger generation.
Even though the younger generation will dominate the 2024 elections, Arya predicts that the political preferences of the generation aged 17-39 years will be spread across various parties and political elites.
This is because political parties have long run organizations that target the younger generation, as well as their different characteristics and needs. 
At the same time, the wisdom of young voters is also maturing.
It is important to remember that voting is not just a matter of putting ballots in a box. 
The younger generation must also be active in organizing themselves, communicating with legislative candidates at the local and national level, and monitoring the course of elections and the government that follows.
The government’s awareness of being able to accommodate the needs of the younger generation and accepting criticism as part of improvement is the key to building a better political future.
Kezia Permata, a private employee in Yogyakarta, showed her enthusiasm for the 2024 elections. For Kezia, elections are an important process in changing Indonesia’s leaders, and she wants to know how the future will be shaped by the elected leaders.
Although her political influence was previously influenced by friends and family, Kezia now actively seeks out information about political elites and understands their history. 
According to him, the past experiences of political figures have a significant impact on their future leadership.
However, not all young people share the same views. 
Adit Sinaga, a private employee in Jakarta, admits that he doesn’t really care about politics and the 2024 elections. Busy work is the main reason. 
Even so, he realized that many of his friends were actively discussing politics, and he still had time to consider his options carefully.
Facing the 2024 elections, it is important for the younger generation to realize how important their role is in determining Indonesia’s future. 
Although they may be skeptical of political promises, active engagement and strong political awareness are key to bringing about positive change.
Elections are a golden moment to make their voices heard, and expect the government and political elite to really pay attention to the needs of the younger generation.

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