Indonesian presidential candidates, Joko Widodo, third left, and Prabowo Subianto, second left, greet each other during a televised debate in Jakarta, Monday. Pic: AP.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The Suharto-era general running for the Indonesian presidency was forced to defend his human rights record during the first televised debate of the campaign — a contest that most observers thought was won by his opponent, former Jakarta governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Prabowo Subianto is running about 10 points behind in opinion polls, but his numbers have been improving amid a perception that Jokowi lacks the experience needed to run the country of 240 million.

(MORE: Hypocrisy laid bare in Indonesian election race)

But Jokowi’s performance more than matched Prabowo’s.

His running mate, former president Jusuf Kalla, landed the only blow of the night by challenging Subianto over allegations he abducted students in 1998.

Subiantio appeared flustered and said “I am a former soldier who has done his duty as best as I can.”

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